It's said that the eyes are the window to the sole. Certainly they betray the presence of this rather large tongue sole (Cynoglossidae) buried in very shallow water at Chek Jawa's sand bank. Also known as tonguefishes, these are some of the most highly derived members of the flatfish order with their caudal fins having become confluent with the dorsal and anal fins to form a seamless organ of sinuous propulsion. Some species in the deep sea thrive in conditions that are literally hot and hellish. This specimen seems to be dextral (lying on its left side with eyes on the right), but my ichthylogical references (Nelson 2006) state that cynoglossids are sinistral. Am I missing something here?
A wildfilms crew member (Alvin I think) discovered this flatfish trying to make itself scarce. Its body was buried beneath the fine substrate with only the beady eyes and a toothy slit of a jaw visible at closer inspection. To prevent it from being inadvertently stepped upon and further flattened by stomping ducks, we prodded it
with our ducks and sought to give the creature its minute of documentary infamy.
As it happened, this sole had its dancing shoes on and performed a lively jiggle in response to our gentle pokes. Maybe it was hoping to be called up to take part in some reality tv show. When this prospect faded, its little jaws snapped busily, muttering soleful curses to the effect of condemning us to a life without sex and seafood for seventeen generations. It then quickly proceeded to rebury itself alive in the futile hope that its grumpy grimace would ground us into small decapods or other bite-sized invertebrates on which it feeds. This was one unhappy sole.