flatfish


flatfish
/flat"fish'/, n., pl. (esp. collectively) flatfish, (esp. referring to two or more kinds or species) flatfishes.
any fish of the order Heterosomata (Pleuronectiformes), including the halibut, sole, flounder, etc., having a greatly compressed body and swimming on one side, with both eyes on the upper side in the adult.
[1700-10; FLAT1 + FISH]

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Any of about 600 species (order Pleuronectiformes) of oval-shaped, flattened bony fishes (e.g., flounder, turbot) found from tropical to cold waters.

Most are marine and live at moderate depths along the continental shelf, but some enter or live permanently in fresh water. Flatfishes are carnivorous bottom dwellers that habitually rest on one side, often partly buried in the sand or mud. Some can also change colour to blend with their surroundings. Both eyes are on one side of the head. The eyed side of the fish (uppermost as it lies on the bottom) is pigmented, but the lower, blind side is normally white. Species vary from 4 in. (10 cm) to 7 ft (2 m) long, and some (e.g., the Atlantic halibut) may weigh as much as 720 lb (325 kg). Many species are highly valued as food. See also plaice; sole.

Flatfish (scophthalmus)

Jacques Six

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 any of about 600 species of bony, oval-shaped, flattened fishes, such as the flounder, halibut, and turbot.

      A brief treatment of flatfishes follows. For full treatment, see pleuronectiform.

      Flatfishes are found from tropical to cold waters. Most are marine and live at moderate depths along the continental shelf, but some enter or live permanently in freshwater. Flatfishes are carnivorous bottom dwellers that habitually rest on one side, often partly buried in the sand or mud. Some are also able to change colour and can blend effectively with a variety of surroundings.

      One of the most notable features of the flatfish is the location of the eyes—both on one side of the head. Another is the colouring; the eyed side of the fish (uppermost as it lies on the bottom) is pigmented, but the lower, blind side is normally white. Other characteristics include a long dorsal fin on the back and a long anal fin on the belly. The flatfishes of the family Pleuronectidae, including about 100 species, usually have their eyes on the right side of the body. Members of the family Bothidae, about150 species, are characteristically left-sided—that is, they have their eyes and colouring on the left side of the body. Other important families are the Soleidae (soles) and Cynoglossidae (tongue soles).

      Flatfishes vary considerably in size. Small species may reach a length of only about 10 cm (4 inches); the largest, the Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus), may reach a length and weight of about 2 metres (7 feet) and 325 kg (720 pounds). Many species, such as the halibuts and turbot, are highly valued as food.

      For more information on flatfish species and groups, see dab; flounder; halibut; plaice; sanddab; sole; tonguefish; turbot.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • flatfish — [flat′fish΄] n. pl. flatfish or flatfishes (see FISH) any of an order (Pleuronectiformes) of marine bony fishes, including flounders and soles, having a laterally flattened, asymmetrical body with, as an adult, both eyes and mouth on the upper… …   English World dictionary

  • Flatfish — Flat fish , n. (Zo[ o]l.) Any fish of the family {Pleuronectid[ae]}; esp., the winter flounder ({Pleuronectes Americanus}). The flatfishes have the body flattened, swim on the side, and have eyes on one side, as the flounder, turbot, and halibut …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • flatfish — 1710, from FLAT (Cf. flat) (adj.) + FISH (Cf. fish) …   Etymology dictionary

  • flatfish — ► NOUN ▪ a marine fish, such as a plaice or sole, that swims on its side with both eyes on the upper side of its flattened body …   English terms dictionary

  • Flatfish — Taxobox name = Flatfish image width = 250px image caption = 19th c. engraving depicting several types of flatfish regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Actinopterygii ordo = Pleuronectiformes subdivision ranks = Families subdivision =… …   Wikipedia

  • flatfish — UK [ˈflætˌfɪʃ] / US noun [countable] Word forms flatfish : singular flatfish plural flatfish a type of sea fish with a thin flat body. Sole and plaice are types of flatfish …   English dictionary

  • flatfish — [[t]flæ̱tfɪʃ[/t]] N VAR (flatfish is both the singular and the plural form.) Flatfish are sea fish with flat wide bodies, for example plaice or sole …   English dictionary

  • flatfish — /ˈflætfɪʃ/ (say flatfish) noun (plural flatfish or flatfishes) any of a group of fishes (often considered as constituting the suborder Heterosomata), including the halibut, flounder, sole, etc., living near the seabed, having a greatly compressed …   Australian English dictionary

  • flatfish — flat|fish [ˈflætˌfıʃ] n plural flatfish a type of sea fish with a thin flat body, such as ↑cod or ↑plaice …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • flatfish — flat|fish [ flæt,fıʃ ] noun count a type of ocean fish with a thin flat body. Sole and plaice are types of flatfish …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English


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