Speckled Sanddab – Citharichthys stigmaeus.


Identifying Characteristics and Biology

  • Small fish in the flounder family, growing up to about 6 to 8 inches in length and weighing about a pound.
  • They are olive brown in color with dark and white speckles all over the top with pale bellies. Males have orange spots. Speckled sanddabs have the ability to change color and patterns to match their surroundings under water.
  • Their lateral line is straight and their caudal fin is rounded.
  • They are abundant in their habitat since the female fish produce numerous eggs in multiple spawnings, during a long spawning period, April to October.

speckled sanddab larvae

Range and Habitat

  • These fish range from Alaska to Baja California along the Easter Pacific coast line.
  • Speckled sanddabs are found hiding on sandy bottoms camouflaging themselves in the sand, from the shore line to 1,000 feet out.

speckled sanddab range

Market Forms

  • Due to their small size, speckled sanddabs are mainly a sport game fish but a high number are caught via commercial trawlers.



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

Rackowski, Joseph P. “Pacific and Speckled Sanddabs.” Species Profiles: Life Hi Stories and Environmental Requirements of Coastal Fishes and Invertebrates (Pacific Southwest) (1989): n. pag. Print.

“Speckled Sanddab Citharichthys Stigmaeus.” Bottomfish Identification: Flatfish. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, n.d. Web.


Images of speckled sanddab range and larvae stage, courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Image of sanddab, John Shelton.

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