The Great Barrier Reef Library

A comprehensive guide to The Great Barrier Reef

Pleuronectiformes – Flatfish and Sole


By on May 9, 2018


Pleuronectiformes are the flatfish, such as sole. These bottome dwellers are found globally, mostly in shallow waters. There are 11 families and about 780 species, many of which are commercially valuable.

Pleuronectiformes undergo a strange metamorphosis. They begin life as planktonic fish, similar in appearance to most juvenile fish. However, as they mature, one of their eyes migrates to the same side as the other eye (usually the right side, but not always). This enables them to lie flat on the seabed, with both eyes looking out for danger.1,2

You can find a list of all of the families of Flatfishes in The Great Barrier Reef, below.

Family – A lower level of taxonomic classification, grouping together species that show many similarities

Bothidae – Left-Eye Flounders

Citharidae – Large-Scale Flounders

Cynoglossidae – Tongue Soles

Paralichthyidae – Sand Flounders

Pleuronectidae – Right-Eye Flounders

Psettodidae – Halibuts

Samaridae – Crested Flounders

Soleidae – Soles