We pulled the crabs out one by one, sometimes having to herd them with our feet as they tried to escape. After all the crabs had been removed and transported to the tank, we began to seal the trap back up...and that's when I saw it: a leaf? Some algae? I bent over to grab whatever had been stuck in the trap, and shouted, "WAIT! That's a halibut!".
Everyone around me turned to look at me. Eric, standing right next to me, gave me a puzzled look and said "Wait, what?".
I immediately realized what I had said. My Alaskan sensibilities had immediately identified this flat fish as a halibut, but they don't live in Boston Harbor! Mentally smacking myself, I spit out, "No, no, my bad, this is a flounder"!
|Our new, small friend|
And that changed everything. No longer confused, the youth staff sprang into action to get this itty bitty flounder into some water. After taking a quick look at our young fish, kids ran to get water, relocated the crabs currently vacationing in our touch tank, and brought over the tank for our new flounder friend.
This young winter flounder couldn't have been that old, because he was small enough to fit into the palm of your hand (less than two inches), but he wasn't completely juvenile, because his eye had almost completely migrated to the top of his head.
The flounder was such a delightful addition to our touch tank! It was so much fun to watch kids' faces as we told them about the amazing secret life of the flatfish. We were able to show the kids the camouflaged top side, and the milky white bottom side, and explain how, as they reach maturity, flounder change colors and one of their eyeballs moves across the top of their head.
Personally, I think our tiny friend would have made some adorable tiny fish prints, but legally we had to release him because of how tiny it was.
Until the next fish-venture,