(Courtesy of Jerry Prezioso)
Winter Flounder, Blackback Flounder|
These fish are "right-eyed" flounder with both of their eyes on the right side of their body. They change color to blend in with their surroundings. The side with the eyes is generally dark brown to gray or olive green with blotches and speckles, their underside is white. They reach about 25" (64 cm) in length, but are usually less than 14" (35 cm). They dwell in open water on muddy or sandy bottoms. The prominent straight lateral line running the length of the fish is a sense organ that helps it detect movement. Winter flounder are omnivorous and have a varied diet including seaweed, shrimp, mollusks, and worms, which they eat with their small mouths and puckered lips. Once overfished, there are now strict regulations on the harvesting of winter flounder. They are year round residents of Narragansett Bay, moving into the Upper Bay in the winter to spawn.