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Bottomfish Identification: Flatfish

Rex Sole
Errex zachirus
Formerly Glyptocephalus zachirus

Commonly caught off the Washington coast by commercial harvesters using otter-trawls.  They are rarely caught by recreational harvesters within Puget Sound.

Description: A right-eyed flatfish with an elongate body, small scales and a rounded snout.  The eyed side is uniformly light brown to gray with the dorsal and ventral fin edges dark or dusky. The pectoral fin on the eyed side is very long, tapered and mostly black.  The blind side tends to be off-white to dusky in color.  This species has a caudal fin that is rounded with the longest rays in the center, forming a broad V. Rex sole have a lateral line that is straight. They have a very small mouth with a maxillary that extends to below the anterior edge of the lower eye. The eyes are large with a ridge that runs between them. Rex sole have a strong anal spine.

Maximum Size: To 61 cm (24 in) in length.

Maximum Age: 27 years old.

Range/Habitat: This species ranges from the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands to Cedros Island, central Baja California. They are widely distributed on sand and mud bottoms from 0 to 850 m (0-2,788 ft) in depth, and are most abundant from about 183 to 457 m. (600-1,500 ft.) in depth.


  • Kramer, D. E., & Josey, T. (1995). Guide to Northeast Pacific flatfishes: families Bothidae, Cynoglossidae and Pleuronectidae. Sea Grant.
  • Munk, K. M. (2001). Maximum ages of groundfishes in waters off Alaska and British Columbia and considerations of age determination. Alaska Fish. Res. Bull, 8(1), 12-21.