by Jill Edwards Steeley
Picture a newborn baby that looks much like other babies. As it grows a little older, though, you begin to see strange things happening to it.
By the time it reaches adulthood, imagine that its facial features have moved around. The baby’s whole shape has changed.
As strange as it may seem, that is what happens to a group of fish called flounders. When a flounder hatches from its egg, it looks like a normal fish. However, God has a different plan for this fish’s growth.
Within a few days it begins to tilt to the side. The eye on the under side begins to travel toward the eye on top.
By the time it is an adult a few months later, the flounder’s body has flattened out. Both eyes are on top. The fish then makes its way to the bottom of the ocean and lives there the rest of its life.
The Life of Founders
Baby flounders eat plankton and tiny shrimp. Adults dine on worms, crabs, clams and sand dollars.
Larger types of flounders feed on squid, shrimp and fish. Some even eat smaller flounders. They lie in wait on the bottom for their meal to swim by.
Flounders have another amazing trait. They can change colors.
Their underside stays a creamy or whitish color. The upper side contains special pigment cells.
These allow the skin to change to brown, black or a mottled color. Then the fish blend in with the mud, sand or gravel around it.
This is God’s plan of protection to make it hard for the flounder’s enemies to see it.
Some kinds of flounder wiggle their tails enough to flip sand or mud over their bodies. Predators would have to be quite alert to be able to spot the flounder’s two eyes bulging out of the sand.
If threatened, though, the fish can make a quick sideways get-away. Its tail flutters up and down, stirring the mud and sand on the bottom. The murky cloud hides its escape.
God provides for the needs of His creatures. The fantastic changes flounders undergo let them successfully adapt to life as a “bottom feeder.”
Go See Flounders!
Many public aquariums include flounders as part of their exhibits. If you go to one, you’ll have to look carefully to find the amazing flounder blending in with the sand.
© 2005 Jill Edwards Steeley
Editor’s note: Flounders and soles are in the same family and are both flatfish. The photo above shows a sole.
When you read about these flatfish or go see them at an aquarium, you may be told the fish evolved. Don’t believe it! God created the flounder, sole, and other flatfish to be just as they are. Just as He created you to be the one-of-a-kind person you are.
Let’s always remember to give God glory and praise for His creations.