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Flatfish (Scophthalmus).—Jacques Six
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 alsoplaice; sole.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on flatfish, visit Britannica.com.