Rhom-boidal: a row of osseous tubercles on the eye-side of the head: lateral line curved above the pectoral: body smooth: teeth blunt, contiguous.

P. vulgaris, Flem. Brit. An. p. 198. Pleuronectes Platessa, Linn. Syst. Nat. torn. i. p. 456. Block, Ichth. pl. 42. Don. Brit. Fish. vol. i. pl. 6. Turt. Brit. Faun. p. 96. Passer Bellonii, Will. Hist. Pise. p. 96. tab. F. 3. Plaise, Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. iii. p. 228. Id. (Edit. 1812). vol. iii. p. 304. Plie tranche, ou Carrelet, Cuv. Reg. An. torn. ii. p. 338.

Length

From twelve to eighteen inches.

Description

{Form). Subrhomboidal; the tail very much contracted before the caudal: greatest breadth just half the length, fins excluded: head a little less than one-fourth of the entire length: dorsal curve not carried on continuously to the mouth, but very much depressed behind the eyes: snout a little sharp; mouth small, ascending; the lower jaw longest: teeth small, closely set, cutting, even, and rather obtuse: eyes on the right side; full and prominent; both equally advanced towards the end of the snout; the intervening space narrow, with an osseous ridge in the middle, which, behind the eyes, becomes interrupted, giving rise to a flexuous row of tubercles five or six in number: lateral line commencing at the upper part of the opercle where the tubercles terminate, slightly arched above the pectoral, but afterwards continued straight along the middle of the body: both sides of the body smooth: scales minute, and deeply impressed in the cuticle, causing the skin, except on the lateral line, to appear pitted: dorsal commencing behind the eye, and extending the whole length of the back, leaving, however, a small space between it and the caudal; greatest elevation about the middle, equalling rather more than one-fourth of the breadth of the body; all the rays simple, and projecting a little beyond the webs: pectorals immediately behind the posterior angle of the opercle, rounded, small; that on the right side of the body not half the length of the head; fifth and sixth rays longest; the first two and the last simple, the rest branched; pectoral on the left side a little shorter and smaller than the other: anal commencing a little beyond a vertical line from the pectorals, similar to the dorsal, and terminating in the same line with that fin; before it a short stiff spine directed forwards: caudal oblong, even or slightly rounded at the extremity; its length equalling nearly half the breadth of the body; the three outermost rays above and below simple, the rest branched: ventrals a little shorter than the pectorals, and rather in advance of those fins; third and fourth rays longest; all the rays simple:

* Proceed, of Bertvicksh. Nat. Club. p. 7

† Donovan "has asserted in the Preface to his "British Fishes," that the Trifurcated Hake of Pennant is not in being, and that the description in the British Zoology was taken from a damaged skin of the Forked Ham. This opinion appears to have been adopted by Dr. Leach. See Wern. Mem. vol. ii. p. 59.

B. 6; D. 72; A. 53; C. 20; P. 11; V. 6.

{Colours). Upper part of the body and fins olivaceous brown, marked with large bright orange spots; also, occasionally, a few oblong dusky blotches, or stains of a darker brown than the ground colour: beneath white.

Very abundant on most parts of the British coast. The largest said to be found off Rye, on the coast of Sussex. According to Pennant, has been known to weigh fifteen pounds. Feeds on small fish and testaceous mollusca. Spawns in February and March. Obs. Cuvier notices a second species of Plaice* (Platessa lata, Cuv)., which is sometimes taken, though rarely, upon the French coast, closely resembling the common sort, and possessing the same row of tubercles on the head, but differing in the greater breadth of its body, which is not contained more than once and a half in the entire length. Possibly this species may occur in our own seas; though I am not aware that it has ever been observed hitherto.