Bizarre peacock flounder is the ocean's master of disguise

The peacock flounder has a unique and amazing ability to blend in perfectly with its surroundings. It is capable of changing its pattern and colour in as little as 8 seconds. Researchers have found that this fish can even change its colour to mimic a checkerboard pattern. Flounders start their life with an eye on each side of their heads, swimming upright as most fish do. As juveniles, they feed and act like normal fish. As they reach adulthood, the right eye of the flounder migrates around the head to the left side of the fish. The eyes extend updawards from the fish like tiny periscopes that move and see independently. This allows the flounder to visualize a threat in all directions. As adults, the flounder swims along the bottom, constantly changing colour to blend in with it surroundings. Visual cues, along with hormone manipulation give the flounder the ability to control its pigmentation. If a flounder sustains damage to one or both eyes, it will not be able to change colour properly. When motionless, the flounder is nearly impossible to detect on almost any surface. Flounders are nocturnal hunters, preferring the cover of darkness while they search for small fish, crabs, and shrimp. Flounders mate in late winter and early spring with the female releasing 2-3 million eggs. As they are deposited in the sand, the male fertilizes them. After fertilization, the eggs float to the surface and are carried on ocean currents. The eggs can hatch hundreds of miles from where they were laid.

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