Speckled Founder, Dappled Flounder
Lenguado Huarache
(Paralichthys woolmani)

Speckled Founder, Paralichthys woolmani: The Speckled Founder has a pale uniform chocolate brown appearance that has a series of dark brown blotches and round pale dots randomly spaced over its body. Its head is slender and pointed and its characteristic tail is small, short, and wide with a blunt point that has a series of identifying stripes. This species is a left-eyed species, However, we have collected several fish that are right-eyed. The keys to identification are arched lateral line and less than 21 fat wide gill rakers.

The Speckled Flounder can be easily confused with the California Halibut, Paralichtys californicus (doubly concave tail and at least 25 gill rakers), and the Cortez Halibut, Paralichtys aestuarius (broad head profile, no spots on its body, smaller wide fan-like caudal fin and at least 24 gill rakers).

The Speckled Founder is a member of the Paralichthyidae Family which includes the flounders and sand dabs, and the genus Paralichtys, which includes only flounders.

The Speckled Flounder reaches a maximum length of just under 3 feet, and a weight of 10 pounds. It is found in the first 75 feet of the water column, over sandy and muddy soft bottoms, and it is an opportunistic feeder, lying in wait, well camouflaged, on the ocean floor.

Distribution in Mexico fishing areas

In Mexican fishing waters , the Speckled Founder is found south of Magdalena Bay on the Pacific side of the Baja California peninsula, throughout the Sea of Cortez, and south along the coast of mainland Mexico to Guatemala, but it appears to be absent from around the oceanic islands.

The Speckled Founder is considered an excellent food fish and is sold commercially. Efforts to introduce this species to the Salton Sea in the early 1950s failed.

Speckled Founder picture

Speckled Founder picture

An atypical fish that is “café” colored on both sides. Fish donated to Mexfish.com during fishing by the commercial fishermen of the greater Los Cabos area of Baja California in June 2010. Size 34 cm. Photos courtesy of John Snow.

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Speckled Founder, Paralichthys woolmani: Caught while fishing off the beach at Punta Palmilla, Baja California Sur, Mexico, in April 2009 on frozen sardines.  Size  15 inches. Photos courtesy of John Snow.

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Speckled Founder, Paralichthys woolmani: Caught during fishing off the beach at Punta Palmilla, Baja California Sur, Mexico, in January 2009, size 32 cm.  The  unique polka-dot appearance will quickly fade to a uniform dark brown very shortly after collection. Photos courtesy of John Snow.

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Speckled Founder, Paralichthys woolmani: Shows up when one purchases a “scoop of bait.” Caught in the surf zone, La Playita, San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico, in January 2003, with a water temperature of 72 degrees, early morning in 5 to 10 foot deep water, utilizing a cast net by panguero bait salesmen. Size approximately 10 inches and a very awkward, strange fish that is virtually weightless. Not viewed by locals as of great value. Description and photo courtesy John Snow.

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Speckled Founder, Paralichthys woolmani: Donated to Mexfish.com by the commercial Mexican panguero fishermen of Todos Santos, Mexico, March 2008. Size, 16 inches. Also shows up when one purchases a “scoop of bait” at La Playita during the colder water winter months. Description and photos courtesy of John Snow.

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