The southern flounder is a member of the Bothidae family of left-eyed flounder and is an important commercial catch.
identification. The southern flounder resembles the summer flounder in appearance. Its coloring is light to dark olive brown, marked with diffused dark blotches and spots, instead of distinct ocelli (spots ringed with distinct lighter areas).
These spots often disappear in large fish. It can be distinguished from the summer flounder by its fewer gill rakers and the presence of distinct spots. It is also similar to the gulf flounder, which has no distinct ocelli.
Habitat. As an estuarine-dependent bottom fish, the southern flounder commonly inhabits inshore channels, bay mouths, estuaries, and sometimes freshwater. It is tolerant of a wide range of temperatures (50 ̊ to 90 ̊F) and is often found in waters where salinities fluctuate from 0 to 20 parts per thousand. No other flounder of the eastern United States is regularly encountered in this type of environment. Anglers regularly catch this fish inshore from bridges and jetties.
Food. Small southern flounder consume shrimp and other small crustaceans, whereas larger flounder eat blue crabs, shrimp, and fish such as anchovies, mullet, menhaden, Atlantic croaker, and pinfish.