The European Flounder (Platichthys flesus) is both a marine (saltwater) and a freshwater fish in the flatfish family. It is also known as the White Fluke.
The European Flounder has a brown, flat, oval-shaped body with reddish spots and brown blotches. Its underbelly is pearly-white. It can change colour to camouflage itself in its surroundings. It has eyes on the top of its head, and a small mouth at the end of a blunt snout (nose). Its skin is rough, with prickly tubercles (round nodules).
It grows to about 30 centimetres (12 inches) long.
It is native to European coastal waters and estuaries. It prefers sandy or muddy ocean beds, and often slightly submerges itself in the sand. It lives in freshwater, and moves to saltwater in winter.
It is mainly nocturnal, active at night. It feeds on the sea bed, looking for molluscs, shrimps, worms, and small fish.
The female releases about a million eggs which float and drift in the ocean current. The eggs hatch after 6-11 days, depending upon the water temperature.
The juveniles live in shallow waters, in estuaries and freshwater rivers, before moving to the coastal waters.
[Location of photographs: Aquarium de Paris-Cinéaqua, France]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM