Natural Marine World Tidbits

Fluke by Tom Byrnes

The fluke is also known as summer flounder.

The fluke or summer flounder, Platichthys dentatus, of the family Plueronectidae (toothed flounders), resides in coastal waters from Nova Scotia to the Carolinas.

Like all flatfish, flukes are bottom dwellers with a white ventral surface and a brown dorsal side that instantly changes to match the ocean floor’s color and texture. These chameleons of the sea are ambush predators feeding on various small fish, crustaceans, and squid.

Flukes grow quickly to a maximum size of three feet, and like their much bigger relative, the halibut, they are delicious. As a result, an important and sustainable commercial and recreational fishery exists due to effective management efforts, leading to a ten-fold increase in biomass since 1990.

Tom Byrnes is the owner/operator of Cayman Marine Lab. He acquired his Coast Guard Captain’s Licence when he was a teenager and worked as a commercial fisherman in his youth. He got his first diving certificate in 1974 with the YMCA. He has worked in the local dive industry for more than 35 years and has a PhD in marine biology.

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