Thursday, August 23, 2012

Summer flounder - Bottom-Dwelling Houdinis

 Above: "Now you see them...." Five summer flounder rest in a transport container before being introduced into the Tennessee Aquarium's Stingray Bay touch tank.
Below: "Now you don't!" Summer flounder have the ability to change skin tones to match their surroundings. As a result, they seem to disappear in their new home. Photos by: Carol Haley / Tennessee Aquarium

Summer flounder now on display at the Tennessee Aquarium by guest blogger Carol Haley, assistant curator of fishes.

Five Summer flounder Paralichthys dentatus were added to Stingray Bay.  These were donated to us by the Maritime Museum in Norwalk, Connecticut.

This is one of the highlighted species in the Aquarium's Serve & Protect sustainable seafood program.

Summer flounder are left-eye flounder, which means as larval fish, their right eye migrates up next to their left eye and they spend all their time lying the right side of their body.  They are found along the east coast of the United States and in the Northern Gulf of Mexico and can grow to nearly 3 feet in length.

Summer flounder are closely related to Southern flounder, but have 5 distinctive eye-spots that help them camouflage on the muddy and sandy bottoms where they live.

Summer flounder are apparently very tasty and can be steamed, fried, boiled, micro-waved, smoked, baked, barbequed, broiled and even prepared as sashimi.  Although you can taste them at the Alton Brown event on September 13th  , Aquarium visitors may only touch the ones on display. Check out a savory summer flounder recipe, along with other recipes by the Aquarium's Serve & Protect partner restaurants in the August issue of CHATTER Magazine. Or, try one of these sustainable seafood recipes developed by Alton Brown.

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