Speckledtail Flounder, Engyophrys sanctilaurentii
The Speckledtail Flounder, Engyophrys sanctilaurentii, whose common Spanish name is lenguado colimanchada, is a species in the Lefteye Flounder or Bothidae Family, known collectively as lenguado chuecos in Mexico. Globally, there are only two species in the genus Engyophrys, both of which are found in Mexican waters, one in the Atlantic and one in the Pacific. All members of the family left eyed fish and have an arched lateral line.
The Speckledtail Flounders have elongated oval bodies with a depth that is 38 to 42% of standard length. Their dorsal side has a dark brown coloration featuring scattered black and white spots with the black spots being prominent along the base of their anal and dorsal fins. They have three large black spots along their lateral line, above their pectoral fin tip, at the rear of their body, and on their caudal peduncle. Their caudal fin has five black spots that form a band across the middle after which they are named. Their blind side, which is dark in its back half, has five or six dusky crossbars, two on the operculum and four behind the front half. They have a small mouth with a short snout and a pair of fairly large eyes on the left side that are set close together with the lower eye well in front of the upper eye. They have small teeth and 5 or 6 small gill rakers. Their dorsal fin originates just before the top eye. The eyed-side pectoral fin is larger than the blind-side pectoral fin. Their lateral line is prominent and strongly arched over the pectoral fins. Their body is covered with rough scales.
The Speckledtail Flounders are found over and within soft, sandy, muddy, and shell bottoms at depths between 160 and 700 feet. They are uniquely colored to blend with the substratum. They reach a maximum length of 20.0 cm (7.9 inches). They feed on small fish and crustaceans. The Speckletail Flounder is a poorly studied species and very little is known about their behavioral patterns.
In Mexican waters the Speckledtail Flounder are found in all waters of the Pacific with the exception that they are absent from the extreme northern portions of the Sea of Cortez.
The Speckledtail Flounder is very similar to the Small Sanddab, Citharichthys platophrys, and the Speckled Sanddab, Citharichthys stigmaeus, but both lack the distinctive barring pattern on their ventral or blind side.
The Speckledtail Flounders are small and seldom seen by humans, thus of limited interest to most.
Speckledtail Flounder, Engyophrys sanctilaurentii. Fish caught from coastal waters off Point Palmilla, Baja California Sur, May 2014. Length: 8.3 cm (3.3 inches). Provided via regurgitation by a 28 cm Greater Sand Perch, Diplectum maximum, which is reflective of the condition of the fish. Identification courtesy of H.J. Walker, Jr., Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA.