Yellowtail Flounder fish identification, Habitats, Fishing methods, fish characteristics
Yellowtail flounder are flat, odd-looking small fish whose eyes are both on the same right side of the head. Their strange appearance doesn’t make them any less desirable to fishermen: one of the most valuable commercial flatfish species for human consumption in North America, the yellowtail flounder is a sought-after catch. This medium-sized species can grow up to 60 cm long, but more commonly measures 30 to 40 cm.
Yellowtail flounder, Lvnanda ferruginea, also known as the yellowtail, rusty dab, sandy dab, or mud dab, sole, zhyoltokhvostaya kambala in Russian, karei in Japan, limanda in Italy, sandflyndre in Norway, zimnica, zolcica in Poland, is a marine fish ranged from Atlantic coast from Labrador south to Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. Yellowtail is most abundant on the western half of Georges Bank, the western Gulf of Maine, east of Cape Cod, and southern New England.
Yellowtail flounder have an oval-shaped, flattened body; it is right-handed and small-mouthed like the winter flounder, the smooth flounder and the witch flounder. The yellowtail is a comparatively wide flounder, nearly one-half as broad as it is long, with an oval body. The dorsal (left hand) outline of its head is more deeply concave than in any other Gulf of Maine flounder; its head is narrower; its snout is more pointed, and its eyes are set so close together that their rounded orbits almost touch each other. The fact that its mouth reaches scarcely as far back as the eyes, with its small teeth and thick fleshy lips, marks it off at a glance from all the large-mouthed flounders. The dorsal fin originates over the eyes and runs the length of the fish, its middle rays are the longest. Its anal fin is similar in outline to the dorsal, but is much shorter, it runs over half the length of the fish, and it is preceded by a short, sharp spine pointing forward. The two ventral fins are alike, and each of them is separated by a considerable space from the anal fin. But the pectoral fin on the blind side is slightly shorter than its mate on the eyed side. The scales are rough on the eyed side, but smooth on the blind side. Lateral line notably arched toward front, over pectoral fin, and small mouth has a conical teeth.
Eyed side brown to olive gray with rusty red or pale spots. Tips of dorsal and anal fins and edge of caudal fin are yellow. Blind side is white with yellow along posterior body margins and on caudal peduncle and caudal fin. Mouth is small and fleshy. Snout is short upturned. Eyes are relatevly large, almost touch each other. Lateral line arched over pectoral fin. The yellowtail flounder will have a continual fringing dorsal fin which runs the length of the fish. It will also have continuous fringing anal fins which run over half the length of the fish. The tail of the yellowtail flounder is round and often a darker hue than the pale yellow tint of the dorsal and anal fins.
Read more: How to Identify Yellowtail Flounder | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_8555765_identify-yellowtail-flounder.html#ixzz1RRpksY1m
The eyes are on the right side.
73-91 (76 to 85) Dorsal fin rays.
56 to 63 Anal fin rays.
Tail fin is long rounded.
Max length : 64.0 cm.
Max. weight: 1,5 kg.
Max. age: 12 years.
Body is flat, oval, and thin.
Yellowtail flounder is reddish brown to olive green on a top, including the fins, tinged with reddish and marked with large irregular rusty red spots. The caudal fin and the margins of the two long fins are yellow, the yellow tail in particular being a very diagnostic character. The underside is white with some lemon-yellow coloring of the caudal peduncle. Its small mouth and thick fleshy lips distinguish the yellowtail from the large-mouthed flounders (Halibut and American Plaice).
It is easily distinguished from the first of these by its more pointed snout, thin body, arched lateral line, and more numerous fin rays; from the smooth flounder by the last two characters as well as by the concave dorsal (left hand) profile of its head and by being scaly between the eyes; and from the Witch Flounder / Grey Sole by its arched lateral line, its less numerous fin rays, concave dorsal (left) profile of the head, and especially by lacking the mucous pits on the left (white) side of its head that are conspicuous on the Witch Flounder.
The yellowtail flounder is a small-mouthed Atlantic flatfish that lives on any sandy bottom or mixture of sand and mud in water 37 to 91 meters deep. Rocks, stony ground, and very soft mud are shunned by yellowtails, as they are by most of the other flatfishes. Average depths ranged from 60 m to 75 m, with a trend for yellowtail flounder to occupy shallower depths from June until December, and deeper and more variable depths from January to May. The average temperatures occupied by yellowtail flounder in the winter showed a decrease from 2.8°C in January to 0.5°C in March, followed by an increasing trend through the spring, summer, and early fall to reach a maximum of 3.9°C in October before decreasing to an average of 2.7°C by December.
With its small mouth, the yellowtail flounder selects smaller types of food. Adults feed primarily on amphipod, a common group of shrimp-like species, shrimp, polychaete worms, small quantities of other invertebrates such as small crabs, mollusks, isopods and other crustaceans, and occasionally small fish like small sculpins, capelin and sand lance. Yellowtail flounder is diurnal, meaning it eats during the daytime—starting near sunrise and ending near sunset.
Yellowtail flounder become mature at age by age 2-3 and at 26-40 cm length in the southern range and by age 4-6 in the northern range, and around this time male and female became physically different (sexually dimorphic). After 2 years of age females grow faster, live longer and reach a larger maximum size than males. There may be an evolutionary advantage for larger females: their bodies can hold a greater number of eggs.
Spawning occurs on or near the sea floor during spring and summer, in the northwest Atlantic from March through August at temperatures of 5-12°C, April-June in New England waters and May-July in Canadian waters. Spawning is thought to be widespread throughout the southern area of the bank during the summer months, with a peak in late June–early July.
Females produce large numbers of eggs (350,000-4,570,000 depending on body length). These are released in batches and fertilized externally by the males. The fertilized eggs float to the surface layers where they drift during development. The eggs are buoyant, spherical; pelagic that lacks an oil globule and size from 0.8 to 1 mm in diameter. The egg membrane is smooth, clear, and colorless. Eggs hatch approximately 5 days after fertilization at temperatures of 10-11°C. Hatching times depend on temperature, and takes 14 days at 4°C to 5 days at 14°C. Yellowtail flounder go through an unusual transformation as they develop. When these fish hatch, their eyes are on opposite sides of their heads; but as they grow, one eye migrates to the other side of their body and as a result this side becomes the top of this species. The larvae remain in the top layers of the water for a short time before drifting downward.
Larvae of 11 mm. are still symmetrical. But the left eye is already visible above the profile of the head at 14 mm. The most visible changes involve pigmentation patterns and migration of the left eye across the top of head. These changes are accompanied by the restructuring of nerves, blood vessels, skull bones, and muscles. Transformation to the juvenile stage occurs at 12-16mm length.
Yellowtail flounder are primarily caught with bottom trawls. Additional types of fishing gear include gillnets and dredges.
The color of a raw flounder fillet will range from tan to pinkish to snow white. No matter what color your flounder fillets are when you buy them, they will all cook up pure white.
Yellowtail flounder is a lean, flaky fish with a mild sweet taste and firm texture. Being a lean fish, the best way to cook flounder is with wine, sauces and other liquids to help keep them from drying out.
Once cooked, the meat is pure white, lean, boneless and flaky with a mild flavor. The sweet taste and firm texture of yellowtail flounder are often regarded as the standard to which other flounders are compared. Yellowtail flounder is sold fresh and frozen as whole fish, fillets and blocks as well as fully prepared in various value-added presentations.