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Species guide

Wide – eyed flounder

Scientific name: Bothus podas

DESCRIPTION:

This species is from a group called the flat fish. The adults lie on one of their sides and have the two eyes on the other side. The dorsal and anal fins are long and with many radii. The upper part (left of the fish) or “side with the eyes” is coloured in such a way that the fish is camouflaged on the bed; the lower part, the “blind side”, is white.

Its maximum size is 45 cm.

BIOLOGY:

They are generally solitary animals.

It feeds on small fish and invertebrates, so it is carnivorous.

Its reproduction is oviparous and its lays its eggs between May and August. The eggs are pelagic and hatch after a few days. The larvae are symmetrical, as with the conventional fish, and swim in the upper layers of the sea. When they reach a length of 2 cm, they begin to undergo a transformation called a metamorphosis. One eye moves on top of the head and lines up with the other. At the same time, the dorsal fin spreads forward to the head and the body flattens. More or less when the eye moves, the fish goes down to the bed to start a mainly benthonic life.

HABITAT:

These are fish that live on beds of muddy or detritus sand, from 10-15m to 400 m.

DISTRIBUTION:

It lives in the Mediterranean and the Eastern Atlantic, from Portugal to Angola.

STATUS:

Species not evaluated (according to the red list of threatened species).

CURIOSITIES:

These fish have cells on their skin that contain pigments called chromatophores, which allow them to change colour. As the chromatophore dilates, the pigments are diluted and become visible with the corresponding colouring. As the chromatophore contracts, the pigments concentrate in a central aggregate too small to be seen and the animal loses its colouring. In this way, many fish can achieve a cryptic colouring to pass unnoticed by their predators by blending into the place where they rest.

OBSERVATION:

Can you find them easily? You have to look carefully in the sand to see this fish as it camouflages very well.