Sea Life

A Guide to the Different Types of Flounder

While flounders come in many shapes and sizes, they all have some features in common. They are all flatfish, meaning they have flattened bodies with eyes on one side of their head. This gives them the ability to camouflage themselves on the ocean floor. Flounders are also known for their delicious taste and delicate texture.

To be found in a variety of habitats, this guide will help you identify the different types of flounder and learn about their ecology and life history.

What are the different types of flounder?

It is a group of flatfish characterized by its distinctive shape that can be found on ocean bottoms globally, whereas some species may be found in estuaries. The subsequent unit deliberates some of the flounder species that are of importance to fisheries.

1: Gulf flounder

Scientific name: Paralichthys albigutta

Conservation status: Least Concern

Lifespan: 7-10 years

Gulf flounders are a species of flounder found in the Gulf of Mexico. Gulf flounder are bottom-dwelling fish and prefer to live in sandy or muddy habitats. They are ambush hunters and use their disguises to their benefit when pursuing targets. They are a common seafood option and are often taken to be a treat.

Gulf Flounder

2: Southern flounder

Scientific name: Paralichthys lethostigma

Conservation status: Near Threatened

Lifespan: 5 years (Male), 7-8 years (Female)

Southern flounder are a class of flatfish developing in estuarine waters beside the southeastern seaside of the US. They are the prevalent target for frivolous anglers and are also commercially picked. Southern flounder are relatively large flatfish, growing up to (12-14 inches) in length.

Southern Flounder

They have brown or olive-colored bodies with dark spots, and their right eye is located near the center of their body, while their left eye is located near the tail. They are devious feeders and will eat a range of small fish, crustaceans, and other invertebrates.

3: Summer flounder

Scientific name: Paralichthys dentatus

Conservation status: Least Concern

Lifespan: Up to 20 years

Summer flounder is a fish that is originate in the Atlantic Ocean. The fish are also commonly known as fluke. They are a popular target for recreational saltwater anglers in the Mid-Atlantic constituency. Also, the fish are known for their delicious flesh and are often caught using a variety of methods, including trolling, jigging, and bottom fishing.

Summer Flounder

As well as being able to color-match their dark sides to the surrounding bottom, summer flounders can burrow rapidly into muddy or sandy areas. Despite their primary role as bottom fish, they are rapid swimmers and can cover short distances when hungry. Anger often leads them to chase prey to the surface.

4: Winter flounder

Scientific name: Pseudopleuronectes americanus

Conservation status: Not specified

Lifespan: Over 15 years

The winter flounder, also called the black back, is a right-eyed flatfish native to coastal waters of western north Atlantic coasts. Winter flounders do not look very different from summer flounders, except that they have much smaller teeth and eyes on the opposite side of the head. With a weight of over 3.5 kg, the adult winter flounder can grow up to 70 cm in length. They are the desired choice for fishermen because they are moderately easy to catch and are well-thought-out to be good-tasting fish.

Winter Flounder

5: European flounder

Scientific name: Platichthys flesus

Conservation status: Least Concern

Lifespan: 12-15 years

European flounder is a flatfish of European coastal waters that typically nurture to about 30 cm in length, though some specimens have reached 60 cm in length. There are reddish spots and brown blotches on the upper surface of this fish, and it can do so to blend in with its surroundings, providing it with an efficient camouflage.

European Flounder

6: Witch flounder

Scientific name: Glyptocephalus cynoglossus

Conservation status: Least Concern

Lifespan: 14 years

The witch flounder lives in fairly deep water on muddy sea beds on both sides of the North Atlantic Ocean. The body and fins of these flatfish are densely covered with black spots, with their eye sides ranging from brownish gray to greyish brown. The fish is covered with smooth scales, except for the tip of its snout and its lower jaw, making it slippery to hold. In normal circumstances, they are normally no larger than 40 cm but can reach a maximum length of 60 cm.

Witch Flounder

7: Olive flounder

Scientific name: Paralichthys olivaceus

Conservation status: Not specified

Lifespan: 3-10 years

North-western Pacific waters are home to olive flounders, which are large-toothed fish. In offshore, coastal areas with soft, muddy water, olive flounder can be found down to a depth of 100 meters. The species measures 41 inches in length and weighs 9 kilograms.

Olive Flounder


A variety of flounders can be found, but probably the most well-known types are gulf, southern, summer, winter, European, witch, and olive flounders, which have been briefly described above. Fish spawn, crustaceans, small fish, and other small sea creatures make up the bulk of the flounder’s diet. Additionally, they are popular food fish throughout the world. Although they are not the biggest or most glamorous fish in the sea, they play an important role in the health of our oceans.

About the author

Ameer Hamza

Ameer Hamza is a well-versed content writer who has been a part of the writing industry for over 4 years and part of Talha Saif Enterprises as an Author for over a year. Through his love of writing, he has developed his own writing style. He enjoys writing articles and blog posts that provide readers with detailed and accurate information. The knowledge he gained from his education helped him tackle many different subjects without any problem. As an avid reader and technology geek, Ameer is always on the lookout for the latest innovations.