Help with flatfish ID!



I'm new to diving in California, so I'm not good at identifying fish and creatures over here :). I found this flatfish in the sand while diving at Breakwater Cove (San Carlos Beach, Monterey) last weekend. It was small, about 5-6 inches. That is the only picture I have of it.

Does anyone know what species this is? The only Californian flatfish I've learned about are the California halibut and the speckled sanddab ... but this doesn't look like it could be any of the two?

Any help would be appreciated! Thanks in advance!



"Ah. Probably a flatfish.

"Ah. Probably a flatfish. Quite Harmless."

Sorry, couldn't resist.

I did a brief search through California's flounders on FishBase and couldn't find anything. Good luck!



That's ok, Louis, thanks anyway for trying! :)

C-O Sole

Hi Adilla!

That's what is called a C-O Sole. When they're mature (a bit bigger than the one you saw) they'll have two markings on their tail that look remarkably like the letter C and O. You can also tell because:

1. They're a right-eyed flounder

2. They have that nice dark dot right in the center of their backs

3. Their eyes are soooo close to the front of their snout that it looks like they'll just fall right over the edge.

If you look at the report of REEF data from divers also diving the Breakwater before you, you'll see that C-O Sole are only found 4.8% of the time there, so GOOD SIGHTING on your part!

Keep an eye out for our West Coast Fishinars and you'll learn all about how to ID these fish. We have some PNW ones coming up this week you might enjoy. Although not all the Pacific Northwest fish are found in California, most are.

Good sighting!

Janna Nichols

REEF Outreach Coordinator


Hi Janna! Thank you so much!!! -- not only for the ID, but also for the helpful identifying markers! I was pretty excited when I saw it, but it's cool to know that it's a relatively rare sighting at Breakwater. My first ever dive there, too, no less! I enjoyed you guys' CAL fishinars last month, so maybe I'll check out your PNW ones too :).

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