|Sediment preference in juvenile Pacific flatfishes|In: Netherlands Journal of Sea Research. Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ): Groningen; Den Burg. ISSN 0077-7579, more
Pleuronectiformes [WoRMS]; Marine
flatfishes; sediment; behaviour; habitat
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Behavioural preference tests were used to determine if sediment selection played a role in habitat choice. Four species of juvenile pleuronectids were given a choice of eight sediments in a carousel and final choices were recorded after 20 h. Juvenile flatfishes demonstrated strong selection for sediments less than 500 µm. Juvenile starry flounder (Platichthys stellatus) selected larger particles with increasing fish size. Starry flounder under 25 mm in length chose mud, 50–80 mm fish chose mud and mixed mud sediments and larger juveniles (>150 mm) confined themselves to find sand. Juvenile halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) at 50–80 mm preferred a combination of mud and fine sand and were spatially segregated. Yellowfin sole (Pleuronectes asper) at 50–80 mm showed a slight preference for mud and mixed mud sediments over sand, a selection that became stronger in larger (>150 mm) fish. Juvenile rock sole (Pleuronectes bilineatus) at 50–80 mm preferred substrata of sand and mixed sand nearly 90% of the time. All species seldom selected sediments which were too coarse to allow the flatfishes to bury themselves, such as granular or pebble substrata. The results of these laboratory studies can be used to predict the distribution of juvenile flatfishes in a nursery area.