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Thread: Left or right-sided fish: the fluke versus the flounder

  1. #1

    Left or right-sided fish: the fluke versus the flounder

    When I was a graduate student, I spend summers at the Marine Biological Laboratory and learned a lot of stuff that you would not necessarily find in books about fish. One of the things that I learned was the difference between a fluke and a flounder. As most people know, flukes and flounders and flat bottom-dwelling fish. They lie on one side and evolved their development such that one of their eyes migrates to the side that is up. I learned that flukes were left-side up fish, i.e. their left side faces up and their right eye had migrated to the left side. Flounders, on the other hand, were right-side-up fishes.


    Why has this stuck in my memory for all these years? Well, I have always wondered how the left side of the body knows that it is the left and how the right side knows that it is the right. The fact that flounders and fluke know mean that there is a definitive marker for leftness and rightness. Now, there were confusing names for these fish. For example, in New England and New York, flukes are sometimes called summer flounders (Paralichthys dentatus). In contrast, the flounder is called the winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus). http://www.scottsbt.com/fishids/idcom/flounder.htm


    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...americanus.jpg

    So, I was surprised when the gulf flounder (Paralichthys albigutta) turned out to be a left-side up fish.



    On the other hand, this picture of a 10-lb whopper of a flatfish is called a flounder and it is left-side up fish




    According to the University of Delaware Sea Grant web site (Source), the winter flounder is the most common shallow water flatfish and is right-sided.


    WINTER FLOUNDER (Pseuopleuronectes americanus)

    The summer flounder or fluke is a left-sided fish.


    SUMMER FLOUNDER (Paralichthys dentatus)

    For those interested in cooking
    Care must be taken not to overcook flounder for it is a very low-fat fish. As soon as the flesh turns white, it is done. Handle flounder gently when cooking. You would never stir-fry and would rarely grill flounder. Thinner fillets (1/2 inch or less) work best rolled and microwaved or poached. Thicker fillets may be baked with a sauce, or broiled using moist heat, or fried; pan-fry lightly dusted thinner pieces, and deepfry thicker, boneless pieces that have been dipped in an egg wash and coated.

  2. #2
    A great picture of fish correctly identified as a flounder, called a Picasso fish.



    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/lo...-picasso-fish/
    This is a fabulous article on the subject. It turned out that this fish formed one of the central arguments made by Darwin and later scientists for evolution


  3. #3
    Here is the http://richarddawkins.net/article,2849,n,n

    Flatfish Fossils Fill In Evolutionary Missing Link
    by Science Daily
    Thanks to SPS for the link.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0709144213.htm

    Flatfish Fossils Fill In Evolutionary Missing Link

    ScienceDaily (July 10, 2008) — Hidden away in museums for more that 100 years, some recently rediscovered flatfish fossils have filled a puzzling gap in the story of evolution and answered a question that initially stumped even Charles Darwin.

    Opponents of evolution have insisted that adult flatfishes, which have both eyes on one side of the head, could not have evolved gradually. A slightly asymmetrical skull offers no advantage. No such fish -- fossil or living -- had ever been discovered, until now.

    All adult flatfishes--including the gastronomically familiar flounder, plaice, sole, turbot, and halibut--have asymmetrical skulls, with both eyes located on one side of the head. Because these fish lay on their sides at the ocean bottom, this arrangement enhances their vision, with both eyes constantly in play, peering up into the water.

    This remarkable arrangement arises during the youth of every flatfish, where the symmetrical larva undergoes a metamorphosis to produce an asymmetrical juvenile. One eye 'migrates' up and over the top of the head before coming to rest in the adult position on the opposite side of the skull.

    <much more>

  4. #4
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    The first fish, of any size, that I caught was either a fluke or flounder. I will have to pull out the picture of me, at about 9 years of age, holding that fish that nearly reached my hip, and inspect the eyes to be sure.

    It was evening on Long Beach Island, NJ. We were fishing the bay side at the lighthouse. My pole took a deep bend. Dad came over to unhook the bottom that he thought I snagged, once again. I told him, "NO, it is not the bottom. There is something on my line, Daddy." What a thrill! I remember it so clearly, nearly 50 years later. I loved those times with Dad! Thanks for bringing back the memory, Wise!

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by SoFla
    The first fish, of any size, that I caught was either a fluke or flounder. I will have to pull out the picture of me, at about 9 years of age, holding that fish that nearly reached my hip, and inspect the eyes to be sure.

    It was evening on Long Beach Island, NJ. We were fishing the bay side at the lighthouse. My pole took a deep bend. Dad came over to unhook the bottom that he thought I snagged, once again. I told him, "NO, it is not the bottom. There is something on my line, Daddy." What a thrill! I remember it so clearly, nearly 50 years later. I loved those times with Dad! Thanks for bringing back the memory, Wise!
    I am so glad that it brought back some memories of your Dad.

    This summer, I took a week off in Woods Hole, where I went fishing one morning with a good friend, hoping to catch some flukes and flounders. I even brought a camera. It was probably the first time I have fished in over 10 years. *We were on a party boat took us to about 20 feet deep waters and ended up catching porgies and seabass, some of which were undersize but five porgies (11-16 inch) and one seabass (14 inch) were keepers. We barbecued fillets of the fish. Next summer, I will try to find a way to go to shallower waters.

    Wise.

  6. #6
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    Actually, it was memories of my childhood that your post brought back to me. Dad is 94, and still in pretty good shape. He only takes a daily multivitamin. He intends to stay around and pester my brothers and me until he reaches 100. He is a sweetie!

    I have so many memories of fishing with Dad. My brothers would run off to do what boys do, while Dad and I would sit on the shore with a line in the water, talking, and ready to pull in fish or crabs. I have grown to appreciate the difference between fishing and catching. Catching will often interupt the joy of fishing.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by SoFla
    Actually, it was memories of my childhood that your post brought back to me. Dad is 94, and still in pretty good shape. He only takes a daily multivitamin. He intends to stay around and pester my brothers and me until he reaches 100. He is a sweetie!

    I have so many memories of fishing with Dad. My brothers would run off to do what boys do, while Dad and I would sit on the shore with a line in the water, talking, and ready to pull in fish or crabs. I have grown to appreciate the difference between fishing and catching. Catching will often interupt the joy of fishing.
    Ahh, I undersand. My kids think that they have a father who never catches fish. Wise.

  8. #8
    this is flouder there is also a blob fish which looks really weird amazing creations from nature

  9. #9
    Senior Member mikek's Avatar
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    Wise,
    I grew up drift-fishing for Fluke in Jamaica Bay and have caught many a "doormat " lol........Thanks for bringing the memories back !!

  10. #10
    Dr Wise really kool article being I love fishing wish I could do more Salt water fishing maybe someday soon
    27 years ago my grandpa dad and me just drifted my boat in long island and as we drifted under a bridge he got a tremendous pull nearly snapping his rod in half lol
    He hooked something feirce so I go grab the fishing net , told my grandpa to get me the gaff The fish was much larger than the net
    grandpa gaffed the fish and got it in the boat all flopping around so I just cut his hook line at it's mouth
    Decided to measure it and it was 26 inches it was bigger than my beer cooler that I used for keeping fish in lol ( poor ladies live well )
    We got the thing in there and kept fishing a little more as I would sit on the kooler to keep the lid down and finish my fishing .
    Afternoon is coming up and we are out of a cold one's
    We decided to go down a canal to a marina that had cold beers , chips , gas

    So the owner goes to pump gas in my boat out and flipped out about this Fish in the boat floor flopping around Wish we had a kodak for that memory
    Turned out to be a doormat fluke
    I love old fishing memories with my pop and grandpa
    Gypsylady

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