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Hudson River Animal of the Month: Hogchoker

Eli’s Fish Facts - Hogchoker

Trinectes maculatus

Hogchokers are probably the most common flatfish that we catch here at CURB. They don’t grow more than about 6 inches long, making them smaller than most local flounder. Similar to other flatfish, however, the adults have two eyes on the same side of their heads, though they aren’t born that way! Baby hogchokers are born with one eye on either side of their head, but once they begin to swim on the left side of their body, the eye from the right side of their head migrates over to the top when they’re still juveniles. Imagine if everyone went through puberty that way.

Hogchokers are very good at burying themselves in the sand, which is why you may not see them when you visit their tank at CURB. They are still voracious eaters, and prefer worms and crustaceans that they catch in the sediment at the bottom of the Hudson. And they are also prey to some animals; in fact, they’re called hogchokers because farmers supposedly used to feed them to pigs from the ponds on their farms. However, their scales can be rough if consumed from tail to head, so the story follows that they used to choke the hogs that fed on them as well.

Meet the Animals: Hogchoker