Creature Feature: 9/10/13 Picture Revealed

It’s the California Tonguefish!



You might be asking, “Two eyes on one side of its body?”

That is right. Tonguefish are a species of flatfish (along with sole, flounder, turbot, halibut, and sand dab), which have two eyes on one side of the body. Like all flatfish, born with one eye on each side of its body, one of its eyes migrates from one side of its body to accompany the other eye on the other side of its body. An eye looking down into the sand or mud simply wouldn’t be of any benefit to these bottom-dwelling fish. A pair of eyes looking up and out for predators and prey to feed on is one of its adaptations for survival.

Like many common names of fish, tonguefish got their name because of what they resemble: in this case, a tongue. Its tail is fused with the rest of its fins, giving it a uniform tongue-looking shape. Tonguefish are found all over the world: in deep oceans, in fresh water rivers and streams, and most in shallower areas such as brackish water estuaries (San FranciscoBay). Some tonguefish can be as long as 40 centimeters (a little over than 15 inches) but the average size is around 20 centimeters.

This tonguefish reminds us all of the diverse marine life that lives within several hundred feet of us here in the San Francisco Bay Area – marine life that relies on us to protect their habitat.


Check MSI out on Facebook every Tuesday for a creature feature activity. Answers will be revealed every Wednesday. 



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