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Flatfishes: Pleuronectiformes

Peacock Flounder (bothus Lunatus): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: The eyes of peacock flounders are on the left side of the head. There is a wide space between the eyes, and the lower eye is farther forward than the upper eye. Males have a strong spine on their snout. The body is disk-shaped. The eye side of the body is grayish brown with many bright blue rings and two or three large black spots. Peacock flounders can grow to a length of about 18 inches (45 centimeters) but usually are about 14 inches (35 centimeters) long.

Geographic range: Peacock flounders live in the western part of the Atlantic Ocean from Bermuda to Brazil.

Habitat: Peacock flounders live in shallow water near the shore on sandy bottoms, on coral reefs, among sea grass, and in mangrove forests.

Diet: Peacock flounders eat small fishes, crustaceans, and octopuses. Crustaceans (krus-TAY-shuns) are water-dwelling animals that have jointed legs and a hard shell but no backbone.

The eyes of peacock flounders are on the left side of the head. (George Marler/Bruce Coleman Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

Behavior and reproduction: Peacock flounder are active during the day. They rest on the sandy bottom, waiting in ambush for their prey. When swimming, these fish glide just above the bottom using wavy movements. Peacock flounder can change colors rapidly to blend in with their background. To begin mating, male and female peacock flounders approach each other with pectoral fins held up. The pectoral (PECK-ter-uhl) fins correspond to the front legs of four-footed animals. The male then positions himself under the female, and the pair slowly rises off the bottom. The fish then release eggs and sperm at the same time and rapidly return to the bottom.

Peacock flounders and people: Peacock flounders are caught by accident by people trying to catch other fish.

Conservation status: Peacock flounders are not threatened or endangered. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceFish and Other Cold-Blooded VertebratesFlatfishes: Pleuronectiformes - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Peacock Flounder (bothus Lunatus): Species Accounts, Pacific Halibut (hippoglossus Stenolepis): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, FLATFISHES AND PEOPLE,