Sand Sole

  • Scientific name: Pegusa lascaris
  • Size: Up to 40cm and 3lbs
  • UK minimum size: N/a
  • UK shore caught record: N/a
  • IUCN status: NE (Not Evaluated)
  • Distribution: UK distribution is limited to the southern coasts of the England and Wales and the southern waters of Ireland. Distribution extends to parts of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Feeds on: Small marine creatures such as prawns and worms.
  • Description: Right-sided flatfish with a similar shape to a Dover sole. Colour is usually a light speckled brown. Fins continue around most of body and tail fin is very small and rounded. Distinctive rosette shaped nostril is present on the underside of this species.

The sand sole is a smallish species of flatfish which is mostly found around the southern coast of the British Isles. It appears to be rarely caught on rod and line – although it is possibly caught more often than realised and misidentified as a different species. It is of little interest to UK commercial fishermen, but is caught and sold elsewhere in Europe.

Distribution

British distribution runs from the southern North Sea around East Anglia to the southern parts of the Welsh coast, while it can also be found around the coast of the Republic of Ireland. There are also populations of this species in various parts of the Atlantic and in the waters around the western Mediterranean sea, although its range does not extend to the Black Sea. Also found all along the west coast of Africa, as far as the waters of South Africa.

Habitat and Feeding

Sand Sole

Sand sole bury themselves into the seabed during daylight hours to avoid predators.

The sand sole can – as its name implies – be found on sandy seabeds, although it can also be found over shingle and muddy seabeds as it only avoids rocky areas. It generally grows to around 20-30cm in length, although in some cases it can grow to around 40cm in length and several pounds in weight. This species is generally found in relatively shallow water from a few metres to around twenty or thirty metres, although in some areas they may be found as deep as several hundred metres. Like most flatfish species it is an opportunistic feeder, taking small marine creatures such as sea slaters, prawns, dislodged shellfish and marine worms, although it may also scavenge on dead fish and other larger sea creatures. Sand sole are thought to be able to live for up to ten years.

Angling and Commercial Value.

While sand sole are a rare species around much of the UK it may be the case that this species is caught more often than realised, but misidentified as another flatfish species such as dab, Dover sole or lemon sole. There are few verified reports of this species being caught on rod and line and no UK shore caught record is currently recorded (but this may be down to the misidentification issues). Sand sole have some commercial value, with small scale fisheries in Portugal and Spain catching reasonable numbers of this species.

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