The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Paralichthys lethostigma
Paralichthys lethostigma
(Southern Flounder)
Marine Fishes
Native Transplant
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Paralichthys lethostigma Jordan and Gilbert, 1884

Common name: Southern Flounder

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Manooch (1984); Robins et al. (1986); Hoese and Moore (1998).

Size: to 90 cm TL

Native Range: Marine. Atlantic coastal and estuarine waters of the United States from Albemarle Sound, North Carolina, to Jupiter Inlet, Florida, and from Caloosahatchee estuary, Florida, to northern Mexico. South Florida is not included in the range (Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Boschung 1992). Murdy et al. (1997) reported it as an occasional visitor to lower Chesapeake Bay, Virginia.

Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Paralichthys lethostigma are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
TX197519877Austin-Travis Lakes; Lower Brazos; Lower Colorado-Cummins; San Ambrosia-Santa Isabel; South Laguna Madre; Upper Guadalupe; Yegua

Table last updated 3/2/2021

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: Primarily found over mud or silt bottoms in coastal and estuarine areas, and lower reaches of rivers (Powell and Schwartz 1977). Although adults can enter and survive in freshwater for long periods of time, spawining and juvenile development occurs in brackish to marine water (Enge and Mullholland 1985). Primarily consumes fishes and crustaceans (Powell and Schwartz 1979).

Means of Introduction: Intentional, authorized stocking for sport fishing.

Status: Extirpated from all reservoirs, with the possible exception of Casa Blanca (Luebke 1978).

Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.

Remarks: No reproduction has been documented in Texas freshwaters. Limited benefits to anglers resulted in termination of the experimental stocking (Howells and Garrett 1992). Stomach contents of southern flounder taken from Long Lake, Texas, were mostly small sunfishes (Lasswell et al. 1977).

References: (click for full references)

Boschung, H. T. 1992. Catalogue of freshwater and marine fishes of Alabama. Alabama Museum of Natural History Bulletin 14:1-266.

Enge, K.M., and R. Mulholland. 1985. Habitat suitability index models: southern and gulf founders. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Coastal Ecosystems Team, Biological Report  82(10.92).

Hoese, H.D., and R.H. Moore. 1998. Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico. Texas, Louisiana, and adjacent waters. 2nd edition. Texas A&M University Press. College Station, TX.

Howells, R. G., and G. P. Garrett. 1992. Status of some exotic sport fishes in Texas waters. Texas Journal of Science 44(3):317-324.

Lasswell, J. L., G. Garza, and W. H. Bailey. 1977. Status of marine fish introductions into the freshwaters of Texas. Proceedings of the 31st annual conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies 31(1977):399-403.

Lee, D. S., C. R. Gilbert, C. H. Hocutt, R. E. Jenkins, D. E. McAllister, and J. R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980 et seq. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, NC. (Cited as a work rather than as individual accounts in the interest of space).

Luebke, R. W. 1978. Evaluation of a multi-predator introduction. Federal Aid Project F-31-R-4.

Manooch, C.S. 1984. Fisherman's guide, fishes of the southwestern United States. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, NC.

Murdy, E.O., R.S. Birdsong, and J.A. Musick. 1997. Fishes of Chesapeake Bay. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC.

Powell, A.D., and F.J. Schwartz. 1977. Distribution of paralichthid flounders (Bothidae: Paralichthys) in North Carolina estuaries. Chesapeake Science 18(4)334-339.

Powell, A.D., and F.J. Schwartz. 1979. Food of Paralichthys dentatus and P. lethostigma (Pisces: Bothidae) in North Carolina estuaries. Estuaries 2(4):276-279.

Robins, C. R., G. C. Ray, and J. Douglass. 1986. A field guide to Atlantic Coast fishes of North America. The Peterson Guide Series, volume 32. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson

Revision Date: 7/5/2011

Peer Review Date: 7/5/2011

Citation Information:
Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson, 2021, Paralichthys lethostigma Jordan and Gilbert, 1884: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=803, Revision Date: 7/5/2011, Peer Review Date: 7/5/2011, Access Date: 3/2/2021

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2021]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [3/2/2021].

Contact us if you are using data from this site for a publication to make sure the data are being used appropriately and for potential co-authorship if warranted. For queries involving fish, please contact Matthew Neilson. For queries involving invertebrates, contact Amy Benson.