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.
- 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.