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Platichthys flesus  (Linnaeus, 1758)

European flounder
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Native range | All suitable habitat | Point map | Year 2100
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Platichthys flesus   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Platichthys flesus (European flounder)
Platichthys flesus
Picture by Stergiou, K.I.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Pleuronectiformes (Flatfishes) > Pleuronectidae (Righteye flounders) > Pleuronectinae
Etymology: Platichthys: Greek, platys = flat + Greek, ichthys = fish (Ref. 45335).

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Marine; freshwater; brackish; demersal; pH range: 7.5 - 8.2; catadromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 1 - 100 m (Ref. 35388).   Temperate; 5°C - 25°C (Ref. 13614), preferred 11°C (Ref. 107945); 72°N - 30°N, 32°W - 45°E (Ref. 54704)

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Eastern Atlantic: coastal and brackish waters of western Europe and from the White Sea to the Mediterranean and the Black Sea (Ref. 4705, Ref. 51442). Introduced into the USA and Canada accidentally through transport in ballast water (Ref. 1739). Asia: Iran (Ref. 39702).

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 24.1, range 25 - 30 cm
Max length : 60.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 35388); common length : 50.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 30578); max. published weight: 2.9 kg (Ref. 104349); max. reported age: 15 years (Ref. 3944)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 53-62; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 37 - 46. Flatfish, its disc width less than half its length (Ref. 3137). Small mouth (Ref. 3137, Ref. 51442). Eyes mostly (70%) on right side (Ref. 3137, 51442), 79% of dextrally oriented flounder (n = 1076) in Bos, 2000 (Ref. 57574). Rough skin, especially along the lateral line and the basis of the dorsal and anal fin (Ref. 3137). Lateral line straight, slightly rounded over pectorals (Ref. 3137). Green-olive colored (Ref. 51442), the bottom side white (Ref. 3137). Irregular reddish spots on the eye side (Ref. 35388).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Migratory fish, which is most of the year found in estuaries (Ref. 51442). Adults occur on mud and sand bottom in shallow water, at sea and brackish; often entering freshwaters (Ref. 59043). During winter, adults retreat to deeper, warmer waters, where they spawn in spring (Ref. 30193). The growing larvae are moving to the coast (Ref. 51442). Larvae and early juveniles use selective tidal transport to migrate upstream rivers (Ref. 57575) using a range of triggers such as salinity, prey density and water temperature (Ref. 57573, 57574). Juveniles live in shallow coastal waters and estuaries (Ref. 57574), which are also the summer feeding grounds for the adults (Ref. 30193). Juveniles of less than a year old feed on plankton and larvae of insects, juveniles of more than a year and adults feed on benthic fauna (Ref. 51442), including small fishes and invertebrates (Ref. 30193). Nocturnal and burrowing (Ref. 30193). Marketed fresh and frozen; can be steamed, fried, boiled, microwaved and baked (Ref. 9988). Worms and mollusks are excellent baits for line fishing (Ref. 30578).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Spawns in the water column (Ref. 7471). Produces 400,000 to 2,000,000 eggs for each female (Ref. 51442).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator : Amaoka, Kunio | Collaborators

Cooper, J.A. and F. Chapleau, 1998. Monophyly and intrarelationships of the family Pleuronectidae (Pleuronectiformes), with a revised classification. Fish. Bull. 96(4):686-726. (Ref. 30193)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 115185)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans


Human uses

Fisheries: commercial; aquaculture: experimental; gamefish: yes
FAO(Aquaculture: production; fisheries: production, species profile; publication : search) | FIRMS (Stock assessments) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us


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