Eyes on the right, upper side, which is brown with prominent red-orange spots. Underside white. Scales are smooth and the lateral line is almost straight. A line of bony knobs runs along the head from lateral line to the eyes.
North Sea populations spawn during late winter - early spring in depths of 20-50 m. The eggs (up to 500,000) are shed and fertilised above the sea bed in areas of sufficient salinity for them to float, and a temperature of around 6 degrees C. The eye moves round during the pelagic larval stage at 35-40 days (11 mm), and the miniature adult becomes bottom living at 45-50 days. Maturity is reached at 5-7 years (North Sea stock) at 33-43 cm.
Bottom-dwelling on sand and muddy substrates. May inhabit depths of over 100 m, but usually found at 10-50 m, with younger fish closer inshore.
Worms and crustaceans, with bivalves and small fish featuring in the diet of larger plaice.
Throughout UK waters.
The plaice is an important commercial fish. North Sea landings of plaice reached a record high in the early 1990s, leading to a sharp decline in spawning stock to a level outside safe biological limits.
The Aquarium Project