Flounder, doormat, left-eyed flounder
Laterally compressed, flat body with an olive-brown top with dark and white spots and a white underside. No eyespots. Both eyes are on the top side of the fish. Have strong jaws with teeth for gripping prey. Average size is 1 to 5 pounds but can reach up to 20 pounds.
Range and Habitat
Found throughout the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic coast as far north as North Carolina. Live in multiple habitats and salinities during their life cycle. Adults prefer muddy bottoms in estuaries and marshes but are also found in channels and bays near piers, pilings, and jetties.
Spawn beginning in October and November as temperatures cool. Large groups migrate offshore to spawn. Spawning peaks in December and ends in January. Females may spawn every three to seven days, producing 14,000 to 68,000 eggs per spawn. Fry are born with an eye on each side of their body; before they grow to an inch long, the right eye migrates to the left side. The left side develops the darker coloration and becomes the top of the fish, while the right side turns white and is the underside. Small juveniles move to inshore to low salinity areas then start moving to high salinity inshore areas as they grow. Ambush predators, flounder lie on the bottom and wait for prey to swim overhead. Feed on shrimp, mullet, anchovies, croakers, and menhaden.