Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
DescriptionThe dab is a small and very common flatfish, similar in general shape to the plaice Pleuronectes platessa, and flounder Platichthys flesus. Both eyes are on the right side of the body. The basic colour is brown with darker blotches and small speckles. Some fish may have a few orange spots but these are not as well developed as they are in the plaice, Pleuronectes platessa. The most characteristic feature is the lateral line, which is strongly arched. Most dab reach only 25 cm long but individuals up to 42 cm have been found.Spawning depends on water temperature and therefore on latitude but is in spring and early summer around Britain. Dab will eat almost any bottom-living animal they catch. This includes brittlestars, small sea urchins, fish, worms, crustaceans and molluscs. The dab has a characteristic method of feeding (which it shares with the lemon sole). The fish raises its head and front part of the body up over a suitable site and waits for a prey to emerge. It then strikes rapidly down and bites it. In spite of their small size, they are a popular food fish with a good flavour and are moderately important commercially. They are caught in trawls and seine nets.