The original award-winning NEFSC FishFAQ, created in 1993, has been archived.
For current information, please see our new FAQ.

Are the eyes of flatfishes on the right or left side?

Except for the rare abnormal specimen, two of the four flatfish families (tongue soles and turbots) are always sinistral (eyes on the left side); the other two (both flounders) are dextral (eyes on the right side).

Yellowtail Flounder (dextral)



Windowpane Flounder (sinistral)

Has any kind of marine or ocean dwelling fish been successfully transplanted from coast to coast in the United States?

Yes, larvae and juveniles of the shad and the striped bass were taken from the Atlantic and released in the Pacific in the 1870's. So successful were the transplants that shad became permanent inhabitants of waters from southeast Alaska to Los Angeles, and striped bass support a good sport fishery off the California and Oregon coast.
striperStriped Bass

How large do ocean sunfish get?

All four species reach from seven to ten feet in length. Because of their tremendous weight, the fish are difficult to land and weigh. One accurately weighed specimen tipped the scales at 3,102 pounds.

sunfish and diversunfish
Ocean Sunfish
Images Courtesy of...
Copyright Mike Johnson

How do porcupine fish inflate themselves?

All puffer-like fish inflate by pumping water into special sacs when in their natural environment. Out of water, a puffer fills the sacs with air instead, and takes on a ballon-like appearance.

porcupine fish
Porcupine fish

puffer fish
Puffer Fish

puffer fish
Puffer Fish inflated


One not native to an area, but introduced either by accident or design. Some such species can cause problems. Often their natural predators are absent from the new area, permitting more rapid reproduction rates than those of natural inhabitants, sometimes at the expense of more desirable native fish. The "walking catfish" in Florida is an example. Thought to have escaped from a private aquarium, the catfish have shown a remarkable ability to avoid eradication efforts by man. An aggressive and voracious fish, it poses a threat to other forms of aquatic life. Population is now estimated in the millions.

Flounder images courtesy of "Regulatory Fish Encyclopedia, Office of Seafood and Office of Regulatory Affairs, Food and Drug Administration, 1993-1996."

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