The amazing flank-up fish

This post is also available in: Dutch.

The Peacock Flounder or Plate fish (Bothus lunatus) is an amazing creature which is extremely well adapted to its place in the ecology. Baby flounders look and act like most other fish, they swim right side up and have eyes on both sides of their head. However, after their larval stage things change dramatically. Their organs change place, their skeleton changes shape, and the right eye moves to the left side of the body. The fish then takes up a lifestyle on the bottom. They are masters of camouflage, and can change the colors and geometry of their spots at will to match the appearance of the bottom they occupy at that moment. Only the two eyes, which are elevated on stalks, will give the animal away. The eyes can move in independent directions, so the flounder really keeps taps on its surroundings. Such a hidden lifestyle makes hunting for small fish and crabs relatively easy.

Made with leftovers from the story of Creation

In Papiamentu this species is known as Sobrá’i Dios, which loosely translates into God’s leftovers. When this fish got its name in historical times, people clearly were not very charmed by its appearance, although the fish scored well enough on the culinary scale.

Leon Pors

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