Species: Ccitharichthys sordidus. Other common names: Mottled sanddab, Catalina sanddab, soft flounder, sole, sand dab, megrim.


Identifying Characteristics and Biology

  • Pacific sanddabs are in the Bothidae family, the left-eyed flounders, where their eyes are always on the left side.
  • They are a light brown mottled color with yellow, orange, and reddish spots.
  • A small to medium sized fish, the Pacific sanddabs can reach 16 inches in length and 2 pounds in weight, but most caught are only 1/3 of a pound.
  • Females mature at around 7 1/2 inches.
  • They have an elongated oval shape, and distinguished from other flatfish with their straight lateral line.

Range and Habitat

  • Pacific sanddabs are endemic to the Northern Pacific ocean, from the Aleutian Islands and the Bering Sea down to Southern California and Baja, California.
  • They are found from the intertidal areas to 1,800 feet deep, and most commonly found between 120 and 450 feet.
  • Pacific sanddabs enjoy tidepools and the younger sanddabs like the more shallower depths.
  • They are soft-bottom dwellers.

Market Forms

  • This is a popular eating fish, and the flesh is sold as a delicacy or a specialty item on some menus.
  • Popular with anglers, this is also a commercial species.
  • Sold whole fresh or frozen, with the larger ones filleted for ease in preparation.



“Bottomfish Identification Guide: Pacific Sanddab (Citharichthys Sordidus) | Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife.” Bottomfish Identification Guide: Flatfish. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

Love, Milton. Probably More Than You Want to Know About the Fishes of the Pacific Coast. Santa Barbara: Really Big Press, 1996. Print.

“Marine Sportfish Identification: Flatfishes.” Marine Sportfish Identification: Flatfishes. California Department of Fish and Wildlife, 17 Oct. 2013. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

“Pacific Sanddab.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Feb. 2014. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.

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