Habitat: found widely in relatively shallow waters in the Indo-Pacific, also ranging into warmer parts of the east Pacific
Status: Least Concern
Meet the peacock of the sea! This is the Peacock Flounder (Bothus mancus) and while it doesn’t have feathers, it certainly does have some epic scales – and eyes! Both eyes are fond on the left side of their body raised up on short stumps much like tiny satellite dishes. The eyes can move in any direction independently of one another; meaning one eye can look forward while the other looks backward at the same time! This provides the Peacock Flounder with a wide range of vision to help it survive.
Of course, camouflage is also another trick the flounder has up its sleeve. This is where the Peacock Flounder starts reminding me more of a chameleon than a peacock! According to Wikipedia:
“In a study, peacock flounders demonstrated the ability to change colors in just eight seconds. They were even able to match the pattern of a checkerboard they were placed on. The changing of the colors is an extremely complex and not well understood process. It involves the flounder’s vision and hormones. The flounders match the colors of the surface by releasing different pigments to the surface of the skin cells while leaving some of the cells white by suppressing those pigments. If one of the flounder’s eyes is damaged or covered by sand, the flounders have difficulties in matching their colors to their surroundings.”
Now, check out the color changing master in action: