Pleuronectoidei is the suborder that we typically associate with Flounder. There is no real scientific name for the flounder fish. This has frequently caused a good deal of misunderstanding among folks. Flounder instead describes a large number of flatfish species that belong to 4 different families: Achiropsettidae, Pleuronectidae, Paralichthyidae, and Bothidae. Flounder are flatfish that live at the bottom of the oceans all around the world, with the most widespread species being the Paralichthyidae.


In many species of flounder, as they mature, one or both eyes move across or around the head, leaving the pair on one side of the skull.

The typical range for flounder is 8.7 to 23.6 inches, while they can grow as long as 37 inches. They are almost equally as long as they are wide.

The Flounder has an unusually flat appearance that complements its lifestyle as a bottom dweller. They can see everything above it because of its two enormous, spherical eyes, which are positioned on short stalks on the same side of the head.

Close-up of a Flounder morphed into the sea floor with its eyes visible.
Close-up of a Flounder morphed into the sea floor with its eyes visible.

Additionally, these eyes have the capacity to move autonomously of one another. The side of the Flounder that is looking away from the ocean floor is pigmented, frequently acting as a kind of camouflage but occasionally featuring stunning color combinations. Usually colorless or very pale, the body’s side with no eyes faces the seafloor.


A predominantly nocturnal predator, Flounder fish survives on a diet of shrimp, crustaceans, and other fish. Worms and plankton may also be consumed by smaller Flounder species. By region and species, the specific make-up of the diet varies considerably. The flounder is a patient ambush predator that blends in with its environment on the ocean floor or in another natural habitat before scooping up its unaware prey with its razor-sharp teeth.


The Flounder resides around piers, bridges, and coral reefs at the bottom of seas and oceans. Flounders may be found in waters all around the world, from the Arctic to Antarctica. The Indo-West Pacific is where the majority of species are found, and diversity decreases as one moves away from the region along both latitudinal and longitudinal gradients.

Flounder that has dug itself into the sandy bottom.
Flounder that has dug itself into the sandy bottom

The majority of Flounder are found in depths of 0 to 1,600 feet. However, a few have been identified at depths of more than 5,000 feet. To accurately determine the state of conservation for many Flounder species, further information is needed. However, the great majority of species appear to be in good condition when statistics are available.


Flounders deposit eggs that develop into symmetrical, conventional fish-looking larvae. These start out lengthy and quickly take on a more circular shape. The skull, gills, pelvic, and pectoral fins of the larvae often contain protective spines. Additionally, they have a swim bladder, avoid spending time on the bottom, and disperse as plankton from their spawning areas. 

Different varieties of Flounder have varying lengths during the planktonic stage, but ultimately they start to change into the complete form. Flounder becomes blind on one side when one of the eyeballs relocates over the top of its head and into the opposite side of the body. Additionally, losing its swim bladder and spines, the larva descends to the bottom and lays its blindside on the ground.


The Flounder only has a few natural predators because of its size, including humans, eels, and sharks. The most effective method of protection is camouflage. The absence of additional natural defenses, however, makes it very susceptible to bigger predators when exposed. 

Flounder are perfectly camouflaged, hidden from predators, and prey
Flounder are perfectly camouflaged, hidden from predators, and prey

Ultimately, mass fishing is the most common threat that Flounders face (no pun intended). There is a financial incentive for big populations of Flounder to be removed from the ocean and sold at fish markets since their flesh is delectable and used as a seafood product.

Facts about the Flounder

  1. To burrow through the sand, Flounder utilizes its fins. Typically, the only bodily portion that is visible is the eyes.
  2. In the wild, Flounders can live for three to ten years.
  3. A Flounder is capable of swimming at 70 mph.
  4. Flounders typically weigh 17 to 20 lbs.


Are Flounders dangerous?

A Flounder is not harmful to people, but it can be harmful to worms or other small aquatic animals. In coastal areas with a healthy population, they can be discovered deep underwater or on murky surfaces. Although they can locate prey in both of these locations, humans are a threat to their survival owing to overfishing.

How long does a Flounder live?

The usual lifespan of Flounder is 3-10 years. Numerous things affect how they will live. These aquatic species’ lives are in danger, particularly because of global warming. The demise of many species that dwell in water is caused by a variety of factors, including water pollution. When rubbish is dumped into water bodies, Flounder eat it and frequently perishes as a result. 

What is special about the Flounder?

The Flounder has a white underside and a black topside. This unique modification is known as countershading. When the Flounder is swimming, predators and creatures that consume other animals have a tougher time spotting it. Flounder may alter its color to blend in with its surroundings.

Can a Flounder bite you?

Although flounders are carnivores, meaning they consume meat, their bites are unique from those of other carnivores. Typically, a flounder bite does not have to be painful; in other cases, it may not even feel like a bite at all.

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