Limanda limandaFlounder

Geographic Range

Found along the Western European coasts of Iceland, from the White Sea to the Bay of Biscay. Also found in the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland, and is most prevalent in the Southern North Sea.


Dabfish are common to sandy, muddy bottom waters. They live in shallower waters in the summer (20-40m). In the fall, they are found in muddy bottoms up to 150 meters in depth.

Physical Description

Limanda limanda are distinguished from other flatfish by having both eyes on the right side of their head; furthermore, the scales on the eyed-side are rough and toothed. Their color varies from pale yellow to a brown/green hue.


The spawning season is from March to May. The eggs are pelagic and drift in the water currents until they hatch (roughly 4 cm). The eggs hatch in about twelve days, and sexual maturity is reached in two years while full adult size isn't reached until five years of age (22-30 cm). Female dabfish are extremely fertile, a 30 cm-sized female can produce one million eggs.


In fall, the young dab meet in inlets of Holland, near spawning sites. With the first frost, these young go into deeper water and don't return to coastal water until the following summer. The adult move inshore to feed and recover after spawning. Generally, small dabs are common inshore, while larger dabs enter estuaries.

Most of their life is spent lying at the bottom, but they can swim rapidly for short distances.

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

Dabfish feed upon hermit crabs, isopods, shrimp, amphipods, echinoderms, mussels, and worms. They feed during the day by waiting for their prey to pass by. They locate their food primarily with sight and attack when the prey moves, but they occasionally use smell also.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

The dabfish are important to commercial fishermen in Europe. They are popular because they have the sweetest flesh of all flatfish. They are captured by trawls and shore seines.

Conservation Status

There is no current threat to the dabfish's populations; they are protected by their high productivity.

  • IUCN Red List [Link]
    Not Evaluated

Other Comments

The species has also been found to host a parasite, Acanthochondria limanda, which lives in their gill cavity.


Jenny Lambert (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.


Atlantic Ocean

the body of water between Africa, Europe, the southern ocean (above 60 degrees south latitude), and the western hemisphere. It is the second largest ocean in the world after the Pacific Ocean.

World Map


Referring to an animal that lives on or near the bottom of a body of water. Also an aquatic biome consisting of the ocean bottom below the pelagic and coastal zones. Bottom habitats in the very deepest oceans (below 9000 m) are sometimes referred to as the abyssal zone. see also oceanic vent.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


the nearshore aquatic habitats near a coast, or shoreline.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.


specialized for swimming

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


uses touch to communicate


Grzimek, Bernhard. 1974. Animal Life Encyclopedia. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York

vol 5, 54 and 241pp.

Kabata, Z. 1979. Parasitic Copepoda of British Fishes. Benham and Co., Great Britain 126and 128pp.

Nixon, Marion and Derek Whiteley. 1972. The Oxford Book of Vertebrates. Oxford Univ. Press, London 48pp.