Atlantic halibut Facts

Atlantic halibut Facts
Atlantic halibut is the largest type of flatfish in the world. It belongs to the family of righteye flounders. Atlantic halibut can be found in temperate and arctic waters of the northern Atlantic. It lives on the sea floor (bottom-dwelling creature) on a depth of 160 to 6.560 feet. Atlantic halibut prefers areas with sandy and gravelly sea floor. This fish became commercially important during the 19th century. Due to great demand for their meat and uncontrolled fishing, Atlantic halibut is on the list of endangered species since 1996.
Interesting Atlantic halibut Facts:
Atlantic halibut can reach 5 to 8 feet in length and 50 to 350 pounds of weight. Specimens of 15 feet and 710 pounds can be occasionally seen in the wild. Females are larger than males.
Atlantic halibut has greenish brown or reddish brown upper (right) side of the body. Bottom (left) side of the body is white, mottled with grey. Juveniles are lighter in color compared to adults.
Atlantic halibut has strong mouth filled with sharp, concave teeth, flat body with both eyes on the right side and concave tail.
Body of Atlantic halibut is covered with scales and slimy mucus.
Atlantic halibut is excellent swimmer. When it swims, its blind (left) side is parallel to the sea floor.
Atlantic halibut swims toward the surface of the water at sunset (to find food) and returns to the sea floor at dawn (nocturnal animal).
Atlantic halibut is a carnivore (meat-eater). Juveniles eat worms, crustaceans and small fish, while adults eat large fish such as redfish, sand eel, cod, haddock, pogge, capelin and lumpfish.
Natural enemies of Atlantic halibut are Greenland shark, killer whales and seals.
Atlantic halibut spends summer in shallow water. It migrates toward deep waters in winter.
Spawning time of Atlantic halibut takes place from December to June.
Atlantic halibut has external fertilization (males and female release sperm and egg cells directly into the water). Older females produce around two million eggs per season. Fertilized eggs float freely in the water until they hatch, 16 days later.
Larvae are only 0.3 inches long at birth and equipped with large yolk sac which represents basic source of food during the first 4 to 5 weeks of their life. After that period, larvae start to eat plankton.
Larvae have symmetrical eyes. At the length of 0.6 to 0.8 inches, body of Atlantic halibut starts to flatten and left eye slowly starts to migrate toward the right side of the body. At the length of 1.7 inches, left eye is relocated completely.
Atlantic halibut reach sexual maturity at the age of 8 to 10 (males) and 10 to 14 (females) years.
Atlantic halibut can survive 50 years in the wild (average lifespan is 25 to 30 years).

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