Peacock Flounder

The Peacock Flounder looks like a fish that was stepped on. Flounder have both eyes on top of their flat heads. The eyes are raised up on short stumps to give it a good view of its surroundings, and can turn all around so the fish can see in every direction. The eyes move independently, meaning one can look in one direction while the other looks in a completely different direction. The Flounder can see forward and backward at the same time.

The peacock flounder is a master of disguise. It can change its color and skin pattern to exactly match the sand or rock that it is sitting on. It is so good at matching patterns, that scientists in the laboratory have put flounders in tanks with bottoms of striped, polka-dot and even checkerboard floor tiles. The flounders were able to quickly change their skin to match each of the new floor patterns. Is that cool, or what?

One of the flounder’s eyes recognizes the pattern of its surroundings. If this eye is covered by sand, the peacock flounder can’t camouflage itself.

Like other fish, a baby flounder has an eye on each side of its face. But as the fish grows, one eye moves until both eyes sit together on the same side of its head. The mouth doesn’t move though, giving this fish a crooked-looking face. Flounders even swim upright like most other fish until they mature. Then flounders swim sideways, making it easier to lay flat on the bottom.

The flounder is active during the day. At night, the peacock flounder blends in with its surroundings and rests.

The peacock flounder is featured in the Flat Cay West segment of Diving St. Thomas - Volume 1.

 


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