Speckled sanddab (citharichthys stigmaeus)

Natural History

Like other flatfishes, sanddabs spend their lives lying on their sides. Shuffling into the sand, they cover themselves, often until only their eyes protrude. Both predators and prey (not to mention Aquarium visitors) overlook these masters of camouflage.


A popular food fish in California, larger sanddabs are taken by sport and commercial fishermen. Most commercial sanddab is fished with bottom trawl—gear that can have negative impacts on the marine environment.

Cool Facts

Sanddabs and other flatfishes are quick-change artists. More convincing than a chameleon, they change color and pattern to match their surroundings.