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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

15 Speckled Sanddab Facts You’ll Never Forget

Speckled Sanddab facts can be fun to learn!

Do you like flatfish like the turbot? Then here we have the speckled sanddab. The speckled sanddab is a type of flatfish that lies on the bottom of the sandy bed, near the coast of the Pacific Ocean, from the Gulf of Alaska to southern Baja California. Being flatfish, they swim with their sides to the top and lie low on the sand in a similar manner. When born, these fish swim in an upright manner with eyes on either side of their head. But as they grow, one eye inches towards the other side, until their left side becomes the dominant top side. They acquire a speckled brown color and are often found lying among rocks on a shallow coast. Sanddabs are also a part of the menu in most places.

The Speckled Sanddab looks similar to the Pacific sanddab, also found in the range of the Pacific Ocean, around southern Baja California and the Sea of Japan. The Pacific sanddab, other than being larger in size, also has a pronounced ridge between its eyes. This is missing in the speckled sanddab. The speckled sanddab also has a shorter pectoral fin.

If you like this article, then check out rainbow cichlid facts and royal gramma facts.

Speckled Sanddab Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Speckled Sanddab?

The speckled sanddab, Citharichthys stigmaeus, is a type of flounder which is a fish.

What class of animal does a Speckled Sanddab belong to?

The speckled sanddab, Citharichthys stigmaeus, belongs to the class of Actinopterygii or ray-finned fishes.

How many Speckled Sanddabs are there in the world?

There is no estimated range for the exact number of speckled sanddabs in the world.

Where does a Speckled Sanddab live?

The speckled sanddab fish is found in the range of the Pacific Ocean from the northern part of the Gulf of Alaska to Baja California, and even further into Mexico. The Pacific sanddab is another similar-looking but larger species found in this region. They mainly dwell in intertidal zones like the Central California piers and the Gulf of Alaska.

What is a Speckled Sanddab's habitat?

Due to its excellent camouflaging skills, the speckled sanddab habitat range consists of sand and seabed from Baja California to Alaska. They are found lying low on muddy and sandy floors. They are found up to a depth of 1,150 ft (350m), though some fish live in shallower waters, close to the coast as well.

Who do Speckled Sanddabs live with?

The Speckled Sanddab (Citharichthys stigmaeus) is a type of flounder fish. Flounder fishes usually swim in schools.

How long does a Speckled Sanddab live?

Speckled Sanddabs are known to have an average lifespan of four years.

How do they reproduce?

Female speckled sanddabs are larger in size than males. They form distinct pairings for coupling. Speckled Sanddabs are oviparous and spawn from eggs. The spawning period lasts for a long time range during which the female fish lays multiple eggs, multiple times. They may lay eggs up to three times a year with each size having a range of 4,100 to 30,800.

What is their conservation status?

The Speckled Sanddab (Citharichthys stigmaeus) species is Not Listed under the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It is are known for its fast reproduction. Its small size makes it unimportant for commercial fishing, especially when the larger Pacific sanddab is readily available. Hence, the speckled sanddab fish has a stable population range. It is available in abundance all throughout the length of the North American coast from Alaska to Mexico, through California.

Speckled Sanddab Fun Facts

What do Speckled Sanddab look like?

Speckled sanddabs have spiny fins and camouflage into their surroundings very well.

The speckled sanddab is a demersal flatfish, like the olive flounder. When born, the young have two eyes - one on either side of their head and are grey in color. However, as they grow the right eye inches towards the left side so that both eyes lie on the left side of its face which then becomes its upper body. They become brown or tan in color, sometimes with speckled olive, gray, or black spots. The bottom portion of the fish is cream in color. The species is known for its camouflaging skills in the sand. Sanddabs have a very short pectoral fin.

How cute are they?

With their camouflaging skills, sanddabs look like a part of the ocean floor itself. Their body is flat and oblong in length. The brown, sand-like color makes them look like a brown rock. Their huge eyes and flat body makes them look quite cute. When caught, one can see the speckled color of their skin which looks like a mix of vegetation. Despite their spiny pectoral fin, the Speckled Sanddab (Citharichthys stigmaeus) is not dangerous to hold.

How do they communicate?

Like much other fish, the speckled sanddab (Citharichthys stigmaeus) has a straight lateral line that helps it to sense vibrations and changes in water pressure. A lateral line is a group of organs running along the spine of the fish. Fish generally use gestures and motion to communicate within schools.

How big is a Speckled Sanddab?

Speckled Sanddab fish is about 7.6 in (19.2cm) in length which is around the same size as that of a large mudfish. Mudfish are about 6.9 in (17.5 cm) in length.

How fast can a Speckled Sanddab swim?

As a species, the Speckled sanddab does not actively hunt after prey. It camouflages in the sandy bed, inches around for a hold, wait for prey to pass by, and attacks at an opportune moment. Despite their lethargic routine, if disturbed, sanddabs can swim away quite quickly.

How much does a Speckled Sanddab weigh?

Sanddabs weigh around 1 lb (450g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Both male and female sanddabs are called sanddabs.

What would you call a baby Speckled Sanddab?

Speckled sanddab babies are known as fry.

What do they eat?

Living on the sandy floors near the coast, sanddabs feed on small crustaceans and mollusks that come along their path.

Are they aggressive?

Flounders are ambush predators and have very good hunting instincts and can be aggressive when preying. However, the small size of a speckled sanddab makes it non-dangerous to humans. When disturbed in shallow waters, they simply dislodge and swim away rather than attack.

Would they make a good pet?

The speckled sanddab is not known to be kept as pets, and these are wild fish species. Hence, it's better to not take them away from their natural habitat, or it might harm them.

Did you know...

Sanddabs are a well-known commercial fish, however, species like the Citharichthys stigmaeus, speckled sanddab are not the first preference. In fact, the speckled sanddab is usually a by-catch and often not sold due to its small length, despite being caught. In taste, they are similar to halibut. Due to their abundance in some regions, especially along the length of sandy coasts, they get caught in nets quite often. Usually, sanddabs that are larger than 10 in (25.4cm) are sold commercially. Any menu search in these regions will bring up sanddabs as a delicacy.

Naming the Speckled Sanddab

The entirety of the Speckled Sanddab from its pectoral fin to tail is brown in color. However, this brown is mottled with olive, grey, or black dots, which become prominent when the fish is not actively camouflaging itself. This mottled or speckled pattern is how these fish got their name.

Are Speckled Sanddabs bottom feeders?

Speckled Sanddabs are a type of bottom-feeding fish. This means they lie on the sand at the bottom of the coast or until some depth and wait in camouflage for prey to pass closely by. Other such bottom feeders include sand dwellers like starfish, crabs, shellfish, snails, and more.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including Mandarinfish facts, or mottled sculpin facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Speckled Sanddab coloring pages.

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