Foureye Flounder, Hippoglossina tetrophthalma
The Foureye Flounder, Hippoglossina tetrophthalma, whose common Spanish name is lenguado cuatrojos, is a member of the Sand Flounder or Paralichthyidae Family, known collectively as lenguados areneros in Mexico. This fish is also known as the Fourspot Flounder. Globally, there are only five members of the genus Hippoglossina, three of which are found in Mexican waters, all in the Pacific.
The Foureye Flounders are left-eyed flat fish with an arched lateral line that originates just behind their eyes and extends to their caudal base. They have elongated oval bodies with a depth that is 40 – 44% of standard length. Their eye side is dark brown and covered with small white spots. They have two pairs of ocellated black spots on the rear half of their body and the base of their pectoral fin also has a black spot. Their blind side is off-white. They have a fairly large head with a long mouth that reaches the rear edge of their lower eye. They have small teeth of equal size that are developed on both jaws. Their eyes are set close together and parallel. They have 58 to 62 anal rays and 76 to 83 dorsal rays. Their dorsal fin originates over the top eye, their pectoral fin is short and measures 50% of head length on the eye side, their pelvic fins are symmetric, and their caudal fin is pointed. They have 11 or 12 short thick gill rakers on their lower arch and are covered with large scales.
The Foureye Flounders are bottom dwellers found over and within sandy and muddy bottoms at depths between 75 feet and 770 feet. They reach a maximum length of 40 cm (16 inches). They are opportunistic and well-camouflaged ambush predators that lie in wait half submerged on the ocean floor. They are a poorly studies species and very little is known about their behavioral patterns.
In Mexican waters the Foureye Flounders are found in all waters of the Pacific with the exception that they are absent from Guerrero Negro northward along the central and northwest coasts of Baja.
The Foureye Flounder cannot be confused with any other species due to the spotting on its rear half.
The Foureye Flounders are considered an excellent food fish and are sold commercially. The majority are taken as a by-catch of deep water shrimp trawlers.
Foureye Flounder, Hippoglossina tetrophthalma. Fish provided by the commercial fishermen of Bahía Kino, Sonora, March 2015. Length: 22 cm (8.7 inches). Photo courtesy of Maria Johnson, Prescott College Kino Bay Center, Kino Bay, Sonora. An atypical right-eyed fish!