Flatfish are a unique group of fish that are characterized by their flattened bodies and asymmetrical head. There are over 800 species of flatfish, making it a diverse and varied group of fish.
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Some of the most common types of flatfish include flounder, sole, halibut, and turbot. Flatfishes range in size from Tarphops oligolepis, measuring about 4.5 cm (1.8 in) in length, and weighing 2 g (0.071 oz), to the Atlantic halibut, at 2.5 m (8.2 ft) and 316 kg (697 lb).
In this article, we will discuss the seven types of flatfish ranked by size, along with their weight and what they look like.
7 Types Of Flat Fish Ranked By Size
Atlantic Halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus)
The Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) is a flatfish of the family Pleuronectidae. It is the largest species of flatfish in the world, growing up to 15 feet in length and exceeding 700 pounds in weight.
Atlantic halibut can be distinguished from other right-eyed flounders by their large size, concave caudal fin, large, gaping mouth, and arched lateral line. They are demersal fish living on or near sand, gravel, or clay bottoms at depths of between 50 and 2,000 meters.
Atlantic halibut are found in the temperate and arctic waters of the northern Atlantic, from Labrador and Greenland to Iceland, and from the Barents Sea south to the Bay of Biscay and Virginia.
The Atlantic halibut is a threatened species owing to a slow rate of growth and overfishing. It is a US National Marine Fisheries Service Species of Concern and has been on the endangered species list since 1996.
Pacific Halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis)
The Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) is a species of righteye flounder and the largest species of flatfish. It is native to the North Pacific Ocean and is fished by commercial, recreational, and subsistence fishermen.
Juvenile Pacific halibut live in shallow, near-shore waters off Alaska and British Columbia, while adults migrate seasonally from shallow summer feeding grounds to deeper winter spawning grounds.
Pacific halibut are found on various types of bottoms and are abundant throughout the region. Fishing for Pacific halibut is mostly concentrated in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea, off the west coast of Canada, and small halibut catches are reported in coastal Washington, Oregon, and California.
The Pacific halibut is broken up into 10 regularity management areas. The Pacific halibut is a popular gamefish and is also used in aquariums.
Greenland Halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides)
The Greenland halibut, also known as the Greenland turbot, is a predatory fish that belongs to the family Pleuronectidae and is the only species of the genus Reinhardtius.
It is a right-eyed flatfish that is found in the cold northern Atlantic, northern Pacific, and Arctic Oceans. Greenland halibut mostly ranges at depths between 500 and 1,000 meters (1,600–3,300 feet). It is a large circumpolar flounder that supports several international fisheries.
Here are some key facts about the Greenland halibut:
– Appearance: Greenland halibut is a right-eyed flatfish that is a cousin of the Pacific halibut.
– Nutrition: Greenland halibut offers a high content of healthy fat and omega-3 fatty acids, while also being a good source of vitamin D.
– Habitat: Greenland halibut is found in the deep, cold waters off the Arctic and North Atlantic oceans.
– Fisheries: Greenland halibut is contained in the Gulf of Alaska Deepwater Flatfish Complex, but Dover sole is assessed and is the primary species in the complex. Greenland turbot are also harvested incidentally in fisheries targeting other groundfish, including arrowtooth flounder, sablefish, and Pacific cod.
California Halibut (Paralichthys californicus)
The California halibut (Paralichthys californicus) is a large-tooth flounder that belongs to the family Pleuronectidae, or the “right-eyed flounders”. Here are some key facts about the California halibut:
– Appearance: The California halibut has a small head with a large mouth full of teeth. Both eyes are on one side of the body, so the fish lies on its side on the ocean floor.
– Habitat: The California halibut is native to the waters of the Pacific Coast of North America, from the Quillayute River in Washington to Magdalena Bay in Baja California. It feeds near shore and is free-swimming.
– Size: The California halibut typically weighs 6 to 30 pounds (3 to 23 kg). It is much smaller than the larger and more northern-ranging Pacific halibut that can reach 300 pounds (140 kg).
– Breeding: The California halibut breeds once yearly, and spawning may occur from February to August, but most commonly happens in May.
– Fisheries: The California halibut is an important commercial and recreational fishery species in California. It is also used in aquariums.
European Turbot (Scophthalmus maximus)
The European turbot (Scophthalmus maximus) is a relatively large species of flatfish in the family Scophthalmidae. Here are some key facts about the European turbot:
– Appearance: The European turbot has an asymmetric disk-shaped body, with a brownish-black color on the eyed side and a white color on the blind side. It can grow up to one meter (40 inches) long and 25 kilograms (55 pounds) in weight.
– Habitat: The European turbot is a demersal fish native to marine or brackish waters of the Northeast Atlantic, Baltic Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea. It is found primarily close to shore in sandy shallow waters throughout these regions.
– Breeding: The European turbot spawns between April and August, with pelagic eggs.
– Fisheries: The European turbot is an important food fish and is highly esteemed for its taste. It is utilized fresh or frozen and is eaten steamed, pan-fried, or grilled. The European turbot is also farmed in aquaculture systems.
Dover Sole (Solea solea)
The Dover sole (Solea solea), also known as the common sole or black sole, is a species of flatfish in the family Soleidae. Here are some key facts about the Dover sole:
– Appearance: The Dover sole has a flat, diamond-shaped body with a small head and a large mouth full of teeth. It is greyish-brown on the upper side and white on the underside. It can grow up to 70 cm (28 in) in length.
– Habitat: The Dover sole is found on the sandy or muddy seabed of the northern Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. It often semi-immerses itself in the substrate.
– Fisheries: The Dover sole is a commercially valuable food fish, being caught mostly by trawling on the seabed. It is highly prized by chefs for its mild, buttery, sweet flavor and versatility, and for its ease of filleting. The name “Dover” comes from Dover, the English fishing port landing the most sole in the 19th century. The eastern Pacific species Microstomus pacificus is also called the Dover sole, but it is a distinct species with different culinary properties.
– Breeding: The Dover sole spawns in the spring and summer, with pelagic eggs.
– Conservation: The Dover sole is included in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan for marine fish.
Flounder (Platichthys flesus)
The European flounder (Platichthys flesus) is a flatfish that is native to the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea. Here are some key facts about the European flounder:
– Appearance: The European flounder has a diamond-shaped body that is brownish-black on the eyed side and white on the blind side. It can grow up to one meter (40 inches) long and 25 kilograms (55 pounds) in weight.
– Habitat: The European flounder is a demersal fish that is found in marine or brackish waters of the Northeast Atlantic, Baltic Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea. It is found primarily close to shore in sandy shallow waters throughout these regions.
– Fisheries: The European flounder is an important food fish and is highly esteemed for its taste. It is utilized fresh or frozen and is eaten steamed, pan-fried, or grilled. The European flounder is also farmed in aquaculture systems.
– Breeding: The European flounder spawns between February and August, with pelagic eggs.
– Conservation: The European flounder is included in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan for marine fish.
1. What are the seven types of flatfish ranked by size?
The seven types of flatfish ranked by size are Atlantic halibut, Pacific halibut, Greenland halibut, California halibut, European turbot, Dover sole, and flounder.
2. What is the largest flatfish in the world?
The Atlantic halibut is the largest flatfish in the world, growing up to 15 feet in length and exceeding 700 pounds in weight.
3. How many species of flatfish are there?
There are over 800 species of flatfish, making it a diverse and varied group of fish.
4. What are some examples of flatfish?
Some examples of flatfish include halibut, sole, flounder, plaice, turbot, and dab.
5. What is a flatfish?
A flatfish is a type of fish with a flattened body that lies flat on the seafloor. Flatfish have both eyes on one side of their head, and the side they lay on determines their type.
6. What is the culinary importance of flatfish?
Flatfish are an important food fish and are highly esteemed for their taste. They are utilized fresh or frozen and are eaten steamed, pan-fried, or grilled.
7. Are flatfish threatened or endangered?
Some species of flatfish are threatened or endangered due to overfishing and habitat loss. For example, the Atlantic halibut is a threatened species and has been on the endangered species list since 1996.