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European plaice

European plaice

Linne

Platessa platessa (Linne)

The European plaice, Pleuronectes platessa, is a commercially important flatfish.

The European plaice is characterized above by their dark green to dark brown skin, blotched with conspicuous, but irregularly distributed, orange spots. The underside is pearly white. The skin is smooth with small scales. They are able to adapt their color somewhat to match that of their surroundings but the orange spots always remain visible. The skin lacks any prickles.

Its maximum length is about 1 m but the plaice, but adults, caught in fishing nets, are usually between 50 and 60 cm in length. Its maximum published weight is 7 kg and its maximum recorded age is 50 years.

The outline of adults is oval. The head is rather small and is less than 25 % of the total length. The pointed mouth is terminal and fairly small with its maxilla reaching just below the right eye. Both eyes are located at the right hand side of the body. The bony ridge behind the eyes is another characteristic for this species. The lateral line curves slightly above the pectoral fin. The dorsal fin reaches the eye. The dorsal and anal fin are distant from the caudal fin. The anal fin contains 48 to 59 soft rays and is preceded by a spine. The dorsal fin has 65-79 soft rays, the pectoral fin 10 to 11 and the ventral fin 6.