Also known as the panther flounder, the leopard flounder is distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific from East Africa to southern Japan and the Society Islands. It is found at depths of up to 150 metres, and reaches a maximum length of 39 centimetres.
The leopard flounder is a left-eye flounder, which means that its right eye migrates to the left side of its body, rather than the other way around. It has a flat, pancake-shaped body with both eyes located on the dorsal side, and is beige in colour with dark spots and rings. It is characterised by a dark blotch on the centre of its lateral line, and uses ambush tactics and excellent camouflage to prey on benthic organisms. The male leopard flounder has an elongated pectoral fin, which is uses in courtship and defensive displays.
The largetooth flounder is named for its impressive set of teeth, which it will use to defend itself if threatened. It is found in the Indo-West Pacific at depths of up to 200 metres, and frequents a range of habitats from shallow estuaries to
deep-water reefs. Juvenile largetooth flounder flourish in brackish water. In South Africa, this species is confirmed as far south as Algoa Bay, and has been reported off Knysna as well. It reaches a maximum length of 45 centimetres, and uses camouflage to prey on a range of benthic organisms. The largetooth flounder can change colour to match its habitat and is identified by two dark spots placed horizontally on its dorsal side. They reach sexual maturity at around 16 centimetres, and form distinct pairs during mating season.
Other Flounders found on our reef
Peacock Flounder – Bothus mancus