Flatfish are among the most common species encountered by the shore angler. Despite them being regular catches confusion still exists when trying to identify dab, flounder and plaice. This guide to flatfish identification explains the species differences. When it come
The sole is an oval shaped flatfish with a small head and a small offset mouth. The dorsal and anal fins are joined to the tail by a thin membrane.
The plaice is a typical round bodied, right eyed flatfish. The upper side is a sandy brown with prominent red or orange spots. The underside is a pearlescent white.
The megrim is a thin bodied, left eyed flatfish with a large extendable mouth and large eyes. The last two rays of the dorsal and anal fins finish on the underside of the fish.
The flounder is a flatfish and normally a dull brown or greenish-brown on its upper side and occasionally faint red spots can be found. The underside is opaque and a dull white although brownish discolouration is not unusual.
The dab belongs to the family of flatfish called Pleuronectidae which are all right-eyed flatfish, the eye migrates over the head when young and finishes on the right hand side of the head.
The turbot is a wide bodied flatfish with the eyes on the left side of its head. The body is without scales but there are boney tubercles on it although these are sometimes only on the underside.
The brill is a close relative of the turbot which it resembles however its body is scaled and lacks the boney protuberances. The first rays of the dorsal fin are free from membranes in their upper half.
The long rough dab is a slender bodied, right sided flatfish. The eyes and mouth are relatively large compared to the smallish head.