When discussing about fluke vs flounder, it is important to note that these terms are often used interchangeably in the fishing community. However, upon closer examination, we find that fluke, also known as summer flounder, and flounder are actually distinct species, each with their own unique characteristics.
This detailed guide about flatfish species aims to uncover the intricate details of fluke & flounder, shedding light on their distinct features, habitats, and dietary preferences. By exploring these additional details, we can gain a deeper understanding of the subtle nuances that distinguish these two captivating fish.
What Is A Fluke ?
A fluke, scientifically known as Paralichthys dentatus, is a type of flatfish that is particularly popular among fishing enthusiasts. Renowned for their unique shape, fluke possess a distinctive asymmetrical body, with both eyes located on one side of their head.
This anatomical feature allows the fluke to camouflage effectively on the ocean floor, providing a vital survival tactic against predators. Habitat-wise, flukes are predominantly found in the Atlantic ocean, ranging from the southern coast of Maine to South Carolina.
As for their dietary preferences, flukes are carnivorous, feeding on small fish, squid, and crustaceans. With their distinct characteristics, the fluke truly stands out in the realm of marine life.
What Is A Flounder ?
On the other hand, a flounder is another type of flatfish that shares similar features with the fluke. However, unlike the fluke, the flounder can be further divided into various species such as winter flounder, Gulf flounder, and southern flounder.
These different species may vary in their physical appearance and distribution, but they are all characterized by their flattened bodies and the location of their eyes on one side. Flounders are typically found in coastal waters and estuaries, with some species even venturing into freshwater habitats.
In terms of diet, flounders are opportunistic feeders, consuming a wide range of prey such as fish, shrimp, worms, and mollusks.
What’s the Difference Between Fluke and Flounder?
One of the primary distinctions between the fluke and flounder revolves around their physical appearances. Fluke, which is also called summer flounder, is recognized by its large mouth filled with sharp teeth and eyes that are situated on the left side of its body.
This flat fish, is typically white or gray with dark, irregular patches, and its body shape is distinctly rounded, unlike most other species of flatfish.
On the other hand, flounder sports a smaller mouth lacking the sharp teeth seen in fluke, and their eyes are located on the right side of their body.
Their color varies based on their environment, but they usually display a dark, muddy brown hue on their upper side with a white underbelly. Unlike fluke, the flounder tend to have a more diamond-shaped, flattened body.
In terms of their habitats, fluke are saltwater creatures that prefer warmer waters and are often found along the Atlantic coast of the US during summer.
Conversely, flounder are more versatile, inhabiting both fresh and saltwater environments, and they can be commonly found in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
When it comes to diet, both species share similarities, feeding on a diet primarily made up of small fish and invertebrates. However, the predatory nature of fluke is more pronounced, given their larger mouths and sharper teeth.
Understanding these differences can enhance our appreciation of the diversity in the aquatic world and guide anglers to more informed and successful fishing excursions.
Flounder are widely distributed across the world’s oceans, demonstrating a versatility in habitat preference. These flatfish primarily inhabit the bottom of oceanic and coastal waters, and are found in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
In the Northern Hemisphere, flounder species are commonly found in the Pacific Ocean, ranging from the coastal waters of Japan to the Bering Sea, and down to the Southern California coast. Notably, the Atlantic Ocean hosts several flounder species, too, covering areas from the Arctic down to Florida and even extending to the Gulf of Mexico.
Remarkably, certain species of flounder are anadromous, migrating from the sea to freshwater bodies to spawn. For instance, the European flounder, a popular species, is known to journey to the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, and even venture into rivers and lakes.
This expansive distribution testifies to the flounder’s adaptability, thriving in diverse marine and freshwater habitats across different climatic conditions.
Species Of Flounder
Summer flounder, also known as fluke, is a highly prized flatfish in North America, popular among recreational and commercial fishermen.
This species has an impressive range spanning from Nova Scotia to South Carolina. However, they are more commonly found along the Atlantic coast of the US, especially during summer when they migrate to northern waters for spawning.
The average size of this species is around 20 inches, with the largest recorded being over 37 inches.
Winter flounder, also known as blackbacks or lemon sole, is found in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean and possesses a distinct dark color on its upper side.
They are smaller compared to their summer flounder counterpart, with an average size of about 1-2 pounds. As opposed to flukes, winter flounders inhabit cooler waters, making them more abundant in the northern parts of their distribution range.
The southern flounder is a widely distributed species in the Gulf of Mexico and Western Atlantic, ranging from Florida to Cape Cod.
This species has one of the most extensive distribution ranges of all flounders. Southern flounder are larger than winter flounder, with an average weight of 5-7 pounds and can grow up to 24 inches.
Final Thoughts On Fluke Vs Flounder
In conclusion, the intricate differences between the fluke vs flounder reveal the fascinating diversity that exists within the aquatic world. These distinctive flatfish species, each with their unique characteristics, habitats, and dietary preferences, captivate the attention of fishing enthusiasts and marine biologists alike.
While the fluke stands out with its large, toothy grin and preference for Atlantic waters, the flounder impresses with its versatile habitat range and multitude of species. On the surface, the terms, fluke fish and flounder may seem interchangeable, but with a deeper dive into their biology and behavior, we find that each fish has a story of its own.
As we navigate through the waters of the fluke vs flounder debate, we gain not just a greater understanding of these two species, but also a deeper appreciation for the complexity and diversity that characterizes our oceans.
So the next time you hear about the fluke vs flounder debate, you’ll be armed with the knowledge necessary to distinguish between these two remarkable fish.