Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

  Common names: flounder (English), halibut (English), lenguado (Espanol)
 
Paralichthys aestuarius Gilbert & Scofield, 1898


Cortez halibut,     Cortez flounder

Body height 43-44% of SL; head length 27% of SL; eyes on left side, separated by a flat space without a ridge; mouth long, 50% of head length, ends under rear of eye; teeth are large canines, especially at front of mouth; 24-31 gill rakers; dorsal fin begins over upper eye,  72-85; anal fin 57-67; bases of pelvics symmetric; urinary papilla on eye side, immediately behind level of anus; lateral line scales 96-119; eye-side scales smooth (rough in juveniles), large fish with small accessory scales between larger body scales; blind side scales smooth; lateral line extending onto head, with branches to upper eye and below lower eye, strongly arched over pectoral fin.

Eye side pale chocolate brown, juveniles sometimes with ocelli; blind side pale.

Size: 58.3 cm.

Habitat: soft bottoms, including estuaries.

Depth: 0-45 m.

Central Baja and the Gulf of California.   
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Biology

Inhabits soft bottoms, from estuaries and up to a depth of 44 m (Ref. 9330). Utilized fresh (Ref. 9330).
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Distribution

Range Description

Paralichthys aestuarius is endemic to the Mexican Pacific, and is found near central Baja California and in the Gulf of California. The most northwestern record on Baja California needs verification, as a continuous distribution from that record to the tip of the peninsula is suspect.
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Zoogeography

See Map (including site records) of Distribution in the Tropical Eastern Pacific 
 
Global Endemism: All species, East Pacific endemic, Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic

Regional Endemism: All species, TEP endemic, Continental TEP endemic, Cortez province endemic, Continent, Continent only

Residency: Resident

Climate Zone: North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California), Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap), Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
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Eastern Central Pacific: Baja California, Mexico and the Gulf of California.
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Eastern central Pacific and the Gulf of California.
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Depth

Depth Range (m): 0 (S) - 45 (S)
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Physical Description

Morphology

Size

Length max (cm): 58.3 (S)
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Size

Max. size

58.3 cm SL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 42865))
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Type Information

Type for Paralichthys aestuarius
Catalog Number: USNM 48128
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Locality: Shoal Point, Colorado R., Mexico, Pacific
Vessel: Albatross
  • Type:
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Paralichthys aestuarius is present in coastal areas at the mouth of estuaries and in brackish water habitats, on soft substrates, at depths to 95 m (Galván-Magaña et al. 2000).

Systems
  • Marine
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Environment

demersal; brackish; marine; depth range ? - 44 m (Ref. 9330)
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Depth range based on 7 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 2 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 1 - 44
  Temperature range (°C): 20.551 - 22.948
  Nitrate (umol/L): 2.687 - 5.859
  Salinity (PPS): 35.202 - 35.311
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.912 - 4.956
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.885 - 1.128
  Silicate (umol/l): 7.399 - 17.377

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 1 - 44

Temperature range (°C): 20.551 - 22.948

Nitrate (umol/L): 2.687 - 5.859

Salinity (PPS): 35.202 - 35.311

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.912 - 4.956

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.885 - 1.128

Silicate (umol/l): 7.399 - 17.377
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth: 0 - 44m.
Recorded at 44 meters.

Habitat: demersal. Inhabits soft bottoms, from estuaries up to a depth of 44 m. Also caught with encircling nets and is utilized fresh.
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Salinity: Marine, Brackish

Inshore/Offshore: Inshore, Inshore Only

Water Column Position: Bottom, Bottom only

Habitat: Soft bottom (mud, sand,gravel, beach, estuary & mangrove), Soft bottom only, Sand & gravel, Estuary

FishBase Habitat: Demersal
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Trophic Strategy

Feeding

Feeding Group: Carnivore

Diet: mobile benthic worms, mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs), octopus/squid/cuttlefish, bony fishes
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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Egg Type: Pelagic, Pelagic larva
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
DD
Data Deficient

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2010

Assessor/s
van der Heiden, A.M. & Findley, L.T.

Reviewer/s
Collen, B., Richman, N., Beresford, A., Chenery, A. & Ram, M.

Contributor/s
De Silva, R., Milligan, H., Lutz, M., Batchelor, A., Jopling, B., Kemp, K., Lewis, S., Lintott, P., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Smith, J. & Livingston, F.

Justification

This species is relatively common throughout its restricted range. However, more information is needed to assess the impact of fishing activities on this species population. It is listed as Data Deficient.

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IUCN Red List: Not evaluated / Listed

CITES: Not listed
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Population

Population
Paralichthys aestuarius is relatively common throughout its range. However, there has been a decline in mean size of the larger individuals of this species in fishery catches.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats

This species is commonly caught as by-catch in shrimp trawling activities (Pérez-Mellado and Findley, 1985) and is also directly fished in localised areas (e.g. Puerto Penasco and Bahia Kino in Mexico). Research is needed to address the suggesting evidence of population decline due to fishing pressures and the disappearance of large individuals.

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Data deficient (DD)
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
There are no known species-specific conservation measures in place for Paralichthys aestuarius. Although its distribution coincides with a number of marine protected areas in Mexico (WDPA 2006), enforcement of fishing regulations in these areas is negligible.

Further research is needed to confirm anecdotal evidence of population decline due to fishing pressures and the disappearance of large individuals.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: minor commercial; price category: medium; price reliability: questionable: based on ex-vessel price for species in this genus
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