seen? The Indian halibut (Psettodes erumei) is sometimes
seen on some of our shores, often near seagrasses.
What are halibuts? They are flatfishes that belong to the Family Psettodidae. According to FishBase:
the family has 1 genera and 3 species found in West Africa and the
Indo-West Pacific. They are considered the most primitive of the flatfishes
for some of their body characteristics and their habit of often swimming
in an upright position. The only species that occurs in our region
is the Indian halibut (Psettodes erumei).
Features: The Indian halibut grows to about 60cm, the
one seen was about 20cm long. Eyes small and may be on the right or
left side. It doesn't look as specialised as the other flatfishes.
It looks very much like a 'normal' fish that is flat (but thicker
than other flatfishes). Besides swimming on its side, it may also
swim upright like other 'normal' fishes. The tail fin is well separated
from the dorsal and anal fins, and the mouth is very large with fang-like
teeth. Even its tongue has minute teeth! Usually brown or grey, sometimes
it has 4-5 broad dark cross bars. The dorsal, anal and tail fin tips
Sometimes confused with other flatfishes.
Here's more on how
to tell apart the flatfish families commonly seen.
Juvenile Indian halibut (about 3cm long)
Tuas, Mar 12
Large mouth with fang-like teeth. Tail fin well separated from
dorsal and anal fins.
|What does it eat? The Indian halibut hunts mainly other
fishes on the muddy and sandy bottom. During the day it lies deeply
buried in the sand and it only comes out at night.
Human uses: It is harvested for
the food trade and sold fresh, frozen or smoked. In some places it
is processed into fish flour.
on Singapore shores
Psettodidae recorded for Singapore
Lim, Kelvin K. P. & Jeffrey K. Y. Low, 1998. A Guide to the Common
Marine Fishes of Singapore.
erumei (Indian halibut)