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.

 

Resources:

“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.

John’s motto is ‘release it unharmed or do it justice on the plate.’ Executive Chef, photographer, and surfer, John photographs ocean marine life when he’s out fishing, and creates masterpieces in the kitchen with what he keeps on deck. His photo works have been used in OEHHA Fish Advisories, National Geographic presentations, and nonprofit marine life groups. When he’s not fishing, he’s making great BBQ. Visit him at johnsheltondesigns.com, and send him a message using the contact form using the link above.