World's Most Remarkable & Unique Flatfishes

Flatfishes are amongst the most-unusual looking marine creatures. There are more than 400 species of flatfish in the world. They are noted for their unusual attributes. Some species can camouflage themselves on the floor of the ocean. Flatfish are unique

Flatfishes are amongst the most-unusual looking marine creatures. There are more than 400 species of flatfish in the world. They are noted for their unusual attributes. Some species can camouflage themselves on the floor of the ocean. Flatfish are unique for having both eyes lying on the same side of the head in the adult fish.

Some species have their eyes always on the right side of the body and others have their eyes always on the left. Also, some species of flatfish, which are also known as Heterosomata or side-swimmers, face their "left" side upward, some face their "right" side upward, and others face either side upward.

Here are some of the most unusual and peculiar species of flatfish.

1.) Wide-eye Flounder (Bothus podas)

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The Wide-eye Flounder is a flounder that inhabits on the sea bottom lying on its right side, with both eyes on the left side. This left-eyed flounder can attain a length that ranges from 4.5 cm to 1.5 m.

2.) Three-Eyed Flounder (Ancylopsetta dilecta)

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Scientifically known as the Ancylopsetta dilecta, the Tree-Eyed Flounder doesn’t have 3 eyes. Its common name is derived from the 3 markings on its body that resemble eyes.

3.) Leopard Flounder (Bothus pantherinus)

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The Leopard Flounder is a left-eyed flatfish that grows up to m39 cm in length. It uses color to camouflage itself by just lying on the sand of bays, lagoons and reefs and waits for creature to swim by.

4.) Pacific Halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis)

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The Pacific Halibut is a unique and large flatfish that inhabits the northern Pacific Ocean. The largest known specimen of this gigantic flatfish is 267 cm or 8.75 ft long. Pacific Halibut is a creature with long lifespan usually reaching 42 years of age. This is an edible fish being caught for commercial and also an important sport fish in some states of the US and Canada.

5.) Turbot (Psetta Maxima)

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The unusual-looking Turbot is a flatfish endemic to the Black Sea, Baltic Sea, Mediterranean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean. This peculiar fish is edible and was known to be a delicacy in the Roman Empire.

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The Turbot is a large left-eyed flatfish that can attain a size of up to 17 kg or about 40 pounds.

6.) Halibut (Hippoglossus)

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Halibut is the largest of all the flatfishes. It can attain a size of up to 333 kg. Its relatively large size gave it the common title ‘Cow of the Sea’. This right-eyed flatfish common name is derived from haly (holy) and butt (flat fish), for its alleged popularity on Catholic holy-days. The Halibut is a highly regarded food fish and can be caught in the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean.

7.) European Flounder (Platichthys flesus)

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The European Flounder is a popular food fish that inhabits the waters of Northern Europe. This right-eyed flatfish can grow up to 50 cm and is unique for its ability to change color to suit its background for an effective camouflage.

8.) California Halibut (Paralichthys californicus)

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The California Halibut or California Flounder is a flatfish native to the Pacific Ocean. This large-tooth flounder can weigh as much as 140 kg. This flatfish is extremely unique because one of its eyes has to migrate around from one side to the other as it grows from an upright baby fish into an adult fish that lies on its side. The adult has two eyes on the up-side as it lay on the bottom.

9.) Heat Lover Flatfish (Symphurus thermophilus)

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This flatfish I called Heat Lover Flatfish is among the most unique and remarkable flatfishes for being the only flatfish known to be an obligate inhabitant of hydrothermal vent. It is known to inhabit the western Pacific Ocean.

10.) Dover Sole (Microstomus pacificus)

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Dover Sole is a flatfish that can be found in the Pacific Ocean from Baja California to the Bering Sea. This marine creature is one of the longest-living animals with a lifespan of up to 45 years. This edible fish is generally grilled.

11.) Brill (Scophthalmus rhombus)

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The Brill is a North Atlantic and Baltic Sea flatfish with lighter and darker colored flecks covering its body. It can also change color like other flatfishes to match its surrounding and provides good camouflage. It can weigh up to 3 kg and can attain a maximum length of 75 cm.

12.) Common Dab (Limanda limanda)

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The Common Dab is a demersal fish that grows up to 40 cm and can weigh as much as 1 kg. This is an edible flatfish native to the Northern Sea. It is similar in appearance to the plaice and the flounder. Both of its eyes are on the right-hand side of its body.

13.) Megrim (Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis)

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Megrim, which is also commonly known as Whiff, is a unique left-eyed flatfish species caught commercially in some countries. It is different in appearance compared to other flatfish species because it has narrower body and a slightly larger head. This peculiar flatfish can reach a length of up to 60 cm. Megrim spawns in deep waters off Iceland, the West of the British Isles and the Mediterranean Sea.

14.) Pacific Sanddab (Citharichthys sordidus)

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The Pacific Sanddab, obviously of the Pacific Ocean, is a medium-sized flatfish and the most common sanddab. Although it is not a very popular fish it is regarded a delicacy in California, USA where it is a popular game fish.

15.) Solenette (Buglossidium luteum)

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The Solenette, which is also commonly known as Yellow Sole, is a flatfish species native to the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. It can attain a maximum length of 15 cm and is of little commercial value. It also has the ability to change color to match its background.

16.) Bering Flounder (Hippoglossoides robustus)

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The Bering Flounder is a small flatfish that can grow up to 30 cm. This demersal fish that lives on bottoms at depths of up to 425 meters lives in the northern Pacific Ocean from Japan to Alaska.

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Ron Siojo
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