Smallmouth Flounder

Etropus microstomus

Picture of a smallmouth flounder

Image by Robert Aguilar, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, CC BY 2.0

Physical: The smallmouth founder is a left-eyed flatfish, which means that when they mature, their eyes will be on the left side of their body. Their body is olive brown with darker splotches, and 2-3 blotches on their fins. Their underside, or blind side, is white. Adults grow up to 5 in (12.7 cm). They received their common name due to the small size of the mouth in relation to the rest of the body, as compared to other flounders.

Habitat: Smallmouth flounder are transient to the Barnegat Bay (they migrate into the Bay for part of the year). Their range spans from Massachusetts to North Carolina, with occasional appearances in South Carolina to Florida and the northern Gulf of Mexico. Smallmouth flounder live in coastal waters, channels, and prefer sandy or muddy bottoms.

Feeding: Not much is known about smallmouth flounder diets specifically. However, flounders generally burrow into the sediment to disguise themselves from prey.

Breeding: Spawning takes place from August to September. Females can spawn multiple times over the course of a season. Eggs are scattered into open water and left to incubate on their own.

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