Occurrence at the Busselton Jetty
This species is a rare visitor to the Underwater Observatory, being that it has an exceptional camouflage and lies very flat on the seabed.
The Small-toothed Flounder is one of over 100 species in the Family Bothidae, or “left-eyed flounders” that have both their eyes on the left side of the head and a typical flounder shape, with a highly compressed body and a distict tail, with the caudal fin distinctly separated from the dorsal and anal fins. As larvae, the Small-toothed Flounder swim normally and have an eye on each side of the body, however once the larvae settle on to the seafloor, one eye gradually migrates around and over the body and the two eyes finally become positioned together on the left side of the head. This allows the fish to lie flat on the substrate, remaining inconspicuous to unknowing prey such as small fish and benthic invertebrates.
The Small-toothed Flounder can be recognised by the gold-speckled dark blotches on a mottled background and its relatively large size of up to 55cm. The species occurs in estuaries and offshore sand or mud bottoms from 0 to 50 metres depth and has a distribution from Fremantle, WA to southern Queensland.