Summer Flounder

D’oh! Forgot to take my camera when we took Nora to the Maria Mitchell Aquarium. Next time. But in the meantime, on the porch of the MMA administrative building, next to the whale bone, I found this dessicated Summer Flounder (Paralichthys dentatus), classic example of a flatfish with both its eyes on the top side. The eyes to the left, as well as the eye-like patterns on the body, identify it. Other flounders like the Winter have their eyes on the right side. Flat fish are born with their eyes on opposite sides; the “other” eye migrates to the dominant side as these fish grow. According to members of the U.S. House Committee on Science, this is because they looked cross-eyed at God and were cursed forever approximately 6,000 years ago.And this is what the underside (right-hand side in the Summer’s case; starboard to the sailor) looks like. They can change the color and pattern on their topside to match the ocean habitat below them (sandy, muddy, etc.), but their underside is quite plain. No need for camo. you will only see this side when you pull it out of the water, and as a major commercial fish, they are pulled. This was a youngster, about five inches long; they can get up to 20 inches and 3 pounds. Found up and down the East Coast, especially between Massachusetts to the Carolinas. They have a very wavy swimming motion, like ribbon in the water.

Right. But what was it doing on the porch? Rather fishy…. This brings to mind Thoreau’s notion that “some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.” Hell of a line, but what the hell does it mean? What is it evidence of? Milk that’s been diluted, that’s what, in this case with water from the local trout stream. Before gummerment started its dangblang interferrin’ with things like health and safety, interference of course demanded by an enraged populace, adulterators of milk tried to get away with whatever they could. Remember that both Prospect Park and Central Park had diaries in their early days so children could get fresh milk at a time when other sources were iffy at best. American history is being repeated as tragic farce in China, where the murderous rampages of unregulated capitalism have resulted in poisoned milk, poisoned toys, etc.

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7 Responses to “Summer Flounder”


  1. 1 myra hope August 30, 2012 at 7:37 am

    Committee members speak from direct experience….

  2. 4 myra hope August 30, 2012 at 7:39 am

    FYI: IKEA plaza in Red Hook was rife with praying mantis last evening….

  3. 6 ronpswegman September 4, 2012 at 9:35 am

    August and September is fluke (summer flounder) season in the New York region. This southpaw flatfish is an active predator that strikes artificial lures and ranks beside striped bass and bluefish as a prized gamefish. I have caught and released a few from the Hudson River estuary, but the species is much more common along the sandy beaches of Long Island.

  4. 7 Out Walking the Dog September 13, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Thanks for clarifying that Thoreau quote – that was gonna keep me up nights. And for reminding us of the function of the erstwhile dairies in our parks – the forerunners of free school lunches, I suppose. I’m waiting for eyes to migrate to one side, since my eyes seem to be permanently crossed at God.


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