Summer flounder - Paralichthys dentatus
Diagnostic characters: No spines present in fins. Mouth protractile, asymmetrical, lower jaw moderately prominent; teeth in jaws sometimes canine-like; no teeth on vomer. Preopercle exposed, its posterior margin free and visible, not hidden by skin or scales. Urinary papilla on ocular side, not attached to first anal-fin ray. Dorsal fin long, originating above, lateral to, or anterior to upper eye. Dorsal and anal fins not attached to caudal fin. Both pectoral fins present. Both pelvic fins present, with 5 or 6 rays (6 rays in nearly all species); pelvic fins symmetrically or nearly symmetrically placed on either side of midventral line (base of neither pelvic fin on midventral line) . Caudal fin with 17 or 18 rays, 10 to 13rays branched (usually 11 or 13, rarely 10 or 12). Lateral line present and obvious on both sides of body; lateral line with high arch over pectoral fin; lateral line present below lower eye. Colour: ocular side uniformly brownish or greyish, often with spots, blotches, or ocelli; blind side usually pale; although ambicoloration (eyed-side coloration replicated on blind side) may occasionally occur.
Size: Maximum size 94 cm total length.
Habitat, biology, and fisheries: Occurring to depths of 185 m, but generally found at depths of 40 m or less. Salt marsh and tidal flat habitats in lower estuary (high salinity) serve as nursery grounds. Feeds primarily on fish and squid, also crabs, shrimp, mysids, molluscs, worms, and sand dollars. Spawning occurs on continental shelf in the Middle Atlantic Bight from September through January, with peak in October and November. Eggs pelagic, from 0.9 to 1.1 mm in diameter, with an oil globule of 0.18 to 0.31 mm.Pelagic larvae develop in continental shelf waters at sizes from 2 to 13 mm standard length. A good foodfish, this species is commercially important from the Carolinas northward.
Distribution: Atlantic coast of the USA from Maine to Florida.
NEAMAP Summer Flounder Catch By Year Maps: