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What Is a Starry Flounder?

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  • Written By: Misty Amber Brighton
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2014
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A starry flounder, or Platichthys stellatus, is a type of fish most often noted for its orange and black stripes. This species is normally very scaly, with eyes on only one side of its head. They are typically found in the Pacific Ocean, from California to Alaska, off the coast of the U.S., but might also be found in the coastal waters of Korea and Japan.

The Platichthys stellatus is generally somewhat round or oval-shaped. It usually has a small, round mouth and thick lips. The body of this fish is normally very flat on both sides.

This fish may grow to be anywhere from 18 to 36 inches (45.72 to 91.44 cm) in length. They can sometimes weigh as much as 20 pounds (9 kg). Starry flounder that stay close to the shore are generally smaller than those that inhabit deeper waters.

Starry flounder are generally classified as right-eye flounders. This genus is known for having eyes only on the right side of its body. Even so, these fish may, in fact, have eyes on either the left or right side of the head.

The side on which the eyes are located is normally a dark brown or black color, while the opposite side may be white. This lighter side can sometimes appear to have spots or speckles. The darker side typically has rough scales that may appear to be star-shaped, with the light-colored side being somewhat smooth.

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There are normally two fins on a starry flounder. These are the dorsal fin, which is located on the back, and an anal fin on the underside of the animal. Both of these fins have thick, black and orange or yellow stripes that run the entire length.

Starry flounder generally prefer to live on the ocean floor. This is especially true in areas where it is sandy. It may sometimes select a habitat that is very muddy, if a sandy location is not available.

This species typically enjoys dining on worms when it is young. As it matures, the diet of a starry flounder normally changes to include crustaceans such as shrimp, crab, or clams. It might also consume smaller fish from time to time.

A starry flounder is often sought by amateur fishermen, who want to catch this variety in order to eat it. It is most often baked or fried, but could also be steamed or grilled. For these reasons, anglers who enjoy preparing their catches are often excited about the prospect of reeling in this species.

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