Fish in the flatfish family are referred to as flounders. Achiropsettidae, Pleuronectidae, Paralichthyidae, and Bothidae are the four other families of flatfish that can be referred to as flounders. The flounder fish is generally divided into right-eyed and left-eyed families.
The flounder dwells near docks, bridges, and coral reefs at the bottom of oceans and seas. Its main occupancy areas include the tropical and temperate waters along the coasts of Europe, North America, Africa, and Asia. Some species also reside much farther north near the Arctic. There is no known estimate of the number of flounders today. However, it is believed that pollution, habitat change, and overfishing are drastically reducing the number of flounders.
Regardless of the species, flounders are fascinating fish to look at, mainly because of how flat they are. It is also interesting to wonder how the inside of their mouths looks. This article uncovers everything you need to know about flounder teeth.
How To Identify Flounders
The flounder has an exceptionally flat appearance that fits with its lifestyle as a bottom dweller. It has two large, round eyes that are extended from short stalks on the same side of the head, allowing it to see everything above it. Additionally, these eyes can move independently of one another.
The flounder’s scales serve as camouflage, making it challenging for prey and predators to spot it against the sandy or muddy ocean floor. Common colors for this fish include tan, orange, brown, green, and white. The flounder’s tail is also rather square at the end, and its body is covered in bony tubercles at the bases of its extended dorsal and anal fins.
Do Flounders Have Teeth?
Like most fish, flounders have teeth. However, because flounders have relatively small mouths, their teeth are barely visible. Unlike most flounders, fluke, also called summer flounders, have a larger mouth than most flounders. Hence, they have larger and more exposed teeth. Their teeth are quite sharp and well-developed on both the upper and lower jaws.
Are Flounder Fish Born With Teeth?
Like other fish, baby flounders have teeth to the point where they are able to feed themselves. They feed mostly on worms and plankton. Larval and post-larval flounder also feed on zooplankton (tiny floating animals) and small crustaceans. Flounders that are not full adults but have grown past the larval stage eat crustaceans and fish.
How Many Teeth Do Flounders Have?
To date, there is no particular recorded number of flounder teeth. The reason for this is that there are several species of this fish, and it is believed that all these different species have different numbers of teeth. However, one common thing across all species is that they have big mouths with sharp, canine-like teeth. The flounder is an ambush predator that waits patiently on the ocean floor or other natural habitat, fitting in with its surroundings, before snatching up its prey unaware with its razor-sharp teeth.
The flounder is predominantly a nocturnal carnivore that gets all of its food from fish, shrimp, and crabs. Plankton and worms might also be consumed by smaller species. The location and preferred habitat of the different species determine the kind of prey they go after and how much they eat.
Southern Flounder Teeth
The southern flounder is a member of the sand flounder family. Its flattened, oval body has both of its eyes on the left side. Most of the body, the head, and the fins are covered in cycloid scales. This species has two jaws with pointed conical teeth and a large mouth. The southern flounder uses its muscular tail fin to move forward rather than their pectoral fins. Southern flounders are ambush predators who wait for their victim to approach before striking.
Southern flounders have a strong tail fin that they employ to push themselves quickly when they detect food nearby. Their top and bottom jaws are equipped with powerful, cone-shaped teeth. Southern flounders can use these teeth to capture prey and dissect their flesh. Since the teeth are sharp, gripping and holding onto prey is simpler.
Gulf Flounder Teeth
From a visual standpoint, the Gulf flounder is among the strangest creatures in the ocean. Within the genus Paralichthys, the gulf flounder is the smallest species. These intelligent fish, despite their small size, make up for it with their cunning nature and adept hunting skills. These fish have large mouths and canine-like sharp teeth. Gulf flounders wait for prey to approach before suddenly striking.
European Flounder Teeth
One of the most adaptable fish species in Europe is the European flounder. It is noteworthy that this fish can live in both freshwater and saltwater. Since the flounder can’t swim well, it depends on flood tides to carry it into rivers where there is an abundance of food. The body of European flounders is smooth, and the scales and mouth are relatively small, with a single row of small numerous teeth in each jaw. Strong teeth on this flounder allow it to crush even the hardiest-shelled creatures. The fish consumes urchins, worms, crabs, and other sea life that is abundant in the muck of the ocean or river.
Gecko Teeth: Everything You Need To Know
Winter Flounder vs Summer Flounder: Key Differences
Flounder vs Tilapia: How Are They Different?