Body oval, compressed. Upper profile of head distinctly concave. Snout (in adults) longer than eye; lower eye a little in advance of upper. Interorbital ridge low, narrow, naked or with a few embedded scales; a bony prominence in front of lower eye and often a trace of another before upper eye; a row of 4 to 7 irregular bony prominences extending from behin the eyes to commencement of lateral line, their bases sometimes connected by a low keel.
Western Mediterranean (occurrences in the eastern Mediterranean doubtful) and along European coasts to White Sea (including Iceland); occasionally off Greenland.
Habitat and biology
Lives on mixed bottoms,from a few metres to about 100 m, the older the deeper the occurrence. Prefers shallow water and small plaice are usually seen on bathing beaches.
Feeds mainly on thin-shelled molluscs and polychaetes.
Spawns when the temperature is about 6° C.
Exceptionally grows to 100 cm in length and weighs 7 kg; more usually around 35-50 cm and 1.1 kg.
The most important flatfish for fisheries in Europe. Utilized fresh and frozen; eaten steamed, fried, boiled, microwaved and baked.