In the emerald waters of the Indian Ocean, there live a group of creatures that possess a remarkable adaptation for life on the ocean floor. These are the flatfish, a diverse group of species that are known for their unique body shape and incredible ability to blend into their surroundings.

In India, there are several species of flatfish that call the waters around the country home. Among them is the Indian halibut (Psettodes erumei), a beautiful creature with a body that is perfectly adapted for life on the ocean floor. Its flattened body is camouflaged with a mottled brown and white pattern that blends seamlessly into the sandy seafloor. With both eyes located on one side of its head, the Indian halibut can keep a close eye on its surroundings while remaining perfectly still.

Another species found in the waters of India is the Indian flounder (Pseudorhombus arsius). With its slender body and speckled brown and white coloration, this flatfish is a master of disguise. It lies motionless on the seafloor, using its ability to change color to blend in with its surroundings and avoid detection from predators.

The Bengal tonguesole (Cynoglossus cynoglossus) is yet another species of flatfish found in the waters of India. With a long, slender body and a mottled brown coloration, this fish is perfectly adapted for life on the sandy ocean floor. Its flattened body allows it to lie low and avoid detection, while its eyes remain alert for any signs of danger.

These species of flatfish are just a few examples of the incredible diversity of life that can be found in the waters around India. With their unique body shapes and incredible adaptations, they are a testament to the beauty and complexity of the natural world.

Fish CharacteristicFlatfishes
Common NameFlatfishes
Scientific NamePsettodes erumei
Colour (s)Brownish-grey with irregular darker markings
Average LengthUp to 30 cm
Average WeightUp to 500 g
Which coastal waters its found in ?Along the west coast of India, particularly in the waters off the coast of Kerala and Goa


Flatfish can have a range of colors, including brown, green, gray, and even bright orange or pink. Many species have camouflage patterns that help them blend in with the sandy or rocky ocean floor.

The length of flatfish found in India varies depending on the species. Some, like the Indian halibut, can grow up to 2 meters long, while others, like the peacock sole, may only reach about 25 centimeters in length.

Flatfish are not known for their speed, as they are more adapted to lying in wait for prey than chasing after it. However, some species, like the Indian sole, can move quickly to evade predators or catch prey.

Flatfish have a unique anatomy that includes eyes on one side of their head and a flattened body that rests on the other side. This asymmetry also means that their fins are different on each side. The side that faces the ocean floor, called the “blind side,” has a smaller fin and is less visible, while the side that faces up, called the “eyed side,” has a larger fin that helps the fish swim.

Habitat and Food

They prefer sandy or muddy seabeds, often in areas with a gentle slope or shelf, at depths ranging from just a few meters to over 200 meters.

Depending on the species, flatfish may be found closer to the shore or farther out at sea.

As for their diet, flatfish are carnivorous and feed primarily on small fish, crustaceans, and mollusks. They use their flattened bodies to lie in wait on the sea floor, camouflaging themselves against the sandy or muddy bottom while they wait for prey to swim by.

IUCN Status

Flatfishes are a diverse group of marine fishes that are found in a variety of habitats around the world. In India, there are several species of flatfish that are known to occur, including the Indian halibut, Indian sole, and the smallscale flounder, among others.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which maintains a Red List of Threatened Species, the conservation status of flatfishes found in India varies depending on the species. Some species, such as the Indian halibut (Psettodes erumei), are considered to be of Least Concern, which means that they are not currently at risk of extinction. Other species, however, are considered to be of greater conservation concern.

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