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Spotfin Flounder fish identification, Habitats, Fishing methods, fish characteristics

The Spotfin flounder (Cyclopsetta fimbriata) is a marine fish widely distributed Gulf of Maine, Gulf of Mexico, North West Atlantic. It has depth range from 0 to 207 m., water temperature from 8 to 26C. It has minor commercial fisheries and very high price category. Taken as bycatch in industrial trawl fisheries for shrimps. Marketed fresh. Maximum size is 33 cm.
Gulf Flounder The Spotfin flounder (Cyclopsetta fimbriata), also known as Miracielo and Tapaculo in Spanish, Linguado in Portuguese, Perpeire in French, is a species of large-tooth flounder family Paralichthyidae, native to the western Atlantic Ocean. It widely distributed along the Eastern coast of North America, from North Carolina in the north to the coast of Brazil in the south. It is abundant around the coast of Florida, Texas and in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea from Honduras to Trinidad.
The Spotfin flounder can be recognized by several prominent dark spots on its dorsal and anal fins, and one each on the caudal and pectoral fins. It has elliptical body with its height nearly half (40% to 50%) of the body length. Head length is 25 to 31% of standard species length. Length of snout is 1/5th of head length. The length of the maxillary is half the length of the head. Nostrils are on the line of the inter-orbital ridge. The posterior nostril is separated from the anterior one by a space equal to one-fifth the length of the snout. The upper eye is placed at a distance from profile equal to half its own diameter, which is a little more than 1/5th (17 to 24%) the length of the head. Both eyes are in the same vertical and separated by an inter-space equal to 1/4th the orbital diameter. The pectoral fin on the eyed side has truncated distal margin. Flounder Anatomy
    The mouth is very large with upper jaw strongly curved, lower jaw included. Upper jaw length is 48 to 56% of head length, extending posteriorly to a vertical through posterior edge of pupil or slightly beyond. The lower jaw length equal to postorbital part of the head, is 1/6th of the body length, extends behind the vertical through the posterior margin of the eyes. It has moderate teeth (not as large as In Mexican flounder, convex anterior profile. Teeth are uniserial in each jaw, some of the anterior teeth in the upper jaw are being much larger than following teeth, while teeth in the lower jaw are still larger than teeth in upper jaw, some of the teeth in each jaw depressed.
    Scales are cycloid, about 70 in the longitudinal series, 25 or 20 in the vertical series above the lateral line. Vertical fins are not scaly. The lateral line is slightly curved over the pectoral, the length of the arc of the curve contained 3 and 1/3rd times in its straight portion. Dorsal rays are beginning on the snout in advance of the nostrils; first ray longer than second with the highest rays located behind middle of the fin, higher than highest dorsal rays, their length is 1/4th of the height of the body. Ventral of eyed side on ridge of abdoment; middle caudal rays produced. The anal fin begins under the axils of the pectoral fin with the longest rays located behind its middle; their length is greater than the longest dorsal rays.

Key characters

There are numerous small, pale and dark speckles on the eyed side that form loose cluster. There is wide, dark edge on pectoral fin. There are 2 large, partially ocellated dark blotches on the dorsal and anal fins and 1 large, partially ocellated spot in the center of caudal fin; sometimes with dark blotches at edge. Upper jaw extends to rear edge of lower eye. Eyes are close-set and separated by a thin, curved in ridge. Pelvic fin bases are short.
  • 78 to 87 (usually 80) Dorsal Fin Rays
  • 59 to 67 (usually 60 to 61) Anal Fin Rays
  • 11-12 (usually 10) Pectoral Fin Rays on eyed side
  • 9-10 Pectoral Fin Rays on blind side
  • 6 / 6 Pelvic Fin Rays
  • 17 Caudal Fin Rays
  • 3-4 + 9-10 short and stout gill rakers
  • 65 to 75 Scales in lateral line
  • 10 + 26-27 Vertebrae
  • Maximum length is 33 cm.
  • Spotfin Flounder Anatomy

        Eyed side is brown color. Dorsal and anal fins each have 2 round large, black blotches upon their posterior has halves, which are slightly larger than eye. Caudal fin has a similar large, black spot in center, also may have up to 3 small, lighter spots irregularly placed on distal edge of fin near its outer margin. Pectoral with a very narrow dark band near its base, whole of outer half marked with a dark blotch, reticulated and molted with lighter; intervening portion pearly white with dark specks upon the rays. Blind side is cream colored.

    The Spotfin flounder Inhabits occurs in open-shelf and lower-shelf waters, among reefs at a depth range from 20 to 230 meters. Found on soft bottoms reef-associated.

    The Spotfin flounder spawn from April to October throughout the entire area on the Continental Shelf with the pick spawning in waters deep 46 m or less. The size of the larvae increases through July and then decreases in September. This size decrease is correlated with a spawning pick. Hatching size is probably about 1.50 mm. Larvae drift north in outer open-shelf, lower-shelf, and slope waters in Gulf Stream to the northeastern United States and Scotian Shelf. Larvae head length increases up to 1/3rd of the body length. Body depth increases from 30% SL to 42% of the length.

    Spotfin Flounder Larvae Larvae 1.9 mm. The smallest larvae has a large head with a well-developed mouth. Sphenotic and preopercular spinatlon. Pectoral fin is omitted to show swim bladder and gut. Cranial spines (1 per side, small) present until transformation, 4 to 6 Preopercle spines are smaller than those in Beach flounder and in Dusky flounder.
    Larvae 3 mm. Elongated dorsal and 3 pelvic fin rays. Rays form on the right side. Pectoral fin is omitted to show swim bladder and gut. Anterior 3 dorsal fin rays elongate. Pigmentation is omitted on dorsal portion of swim bladder and gut, 3 dorsal and 2 ventral clusters; 1 dorsal and 1 ventral cluster added at about 5 mm. Spotfin Flounder Larvae
    Spotfin Flounder Larvae Larvae 7 mm. Sphenotic and preopercular spination, elongate dorsal and pelvic fin rays, and plgmentation. Pecotoral fin Is omitted. 1 dorsal cluster added. Anterior most 811 rays remain elongate.
    Larvae 13 mm. Sphenotic and preopercnlar splnation, elongate dorsal and pelvic fin rays, pigmentation, and area under anterior portion of the dorsal fin through wllich the righlt side eye will migrate. Spotfin Flounder Larvae
    Spotfin Flounder Larvae Larvae 14 mm. Larvae has been cleared and stained, and all bone that half absorbed alizarin red S is shaded. Note sphenotic and preopereular spinatlon, elongate dorsal and pelvic fin rays, right side eye will migrate through the head under anterior part of dorsal fln. Ossification is not yet complete.
    Fishing Methods:
    The spotfin flounder is a good game fish. Minor commercial importance, marketed fresh. Taken as bycatch in industrial trawl fisheries for shrimps. very high price category.
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