Solea solea 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Pleuronectiformes Soleidae

Scientific Name: Solea solea (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Dover Sole, Black Sole, Common Sole, Parkgate Sole, River Sole, Sea Partridge, Slip, Southport Sole, Tounge, True Soul
French Sole, Sole Commune, Sole Commune
Spanish Lenguado, Lenguado Común, Lenguao
Pleuronectes solea Linnaeus, 1758
Solea vulgaris Quensel, 1806
Solea vulgaris ssp. vulgaris Quensel, 1806
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N. (ed.). 2015. Catalog of Fishes. Updated 3 August 2015. Available at: (Accessed: 3 August 2015).
Taxonomic Notes: Some authors (Ben-Tuvia 1990, Tinti and Piccinetti 2000) claim that S. aegyptica is a synonym of S. solea. Other authors consider S. aegyptica a valid species (Desoutter 1997, Borsa and Quignard 2001).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2014-07-15
Assessor(s): Tous, P., Sidibe, A., Mbye, E., de Morais, L., Camara, Y.H., Adeofe, T.A., Monroe, T., Camara, K., Cissoko, K., Djiman, R., Sagna, A. & Sylla, M.
Reviewer(s): Strongin, K., Polidoro, B., Carpenter, K.E. & Corley, B.
This species is widespread and common in the Eastern Central Atlantic and in the Mediterranean. It is targeted with S. senegalensis, although there are no separate catch statistics. In many parts of its range, juveniles are also taken in estuaries which may be an important nursery ground. It is not known how these species are being impacted by these threats. It is listed as Data Deficient. More research is needed on the status of this species in the Eastern Central Atlantic.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species occurs in the east Atlantic, southward from Trondheim Fjord (including North Sea and western Baltic) to Senegal, including Cape Verde (Desoutter 1990) and the Canary and Madeira Islands.

In the Mediterranean Sea, it is present throughout the basin, including the Adriatic Sea (Fiorentini et al. 1999, Lipej et al. 2003), Gulf of Lion (Letourneur et al. 2001, Salen-Picard et al. 2002, Darnaude et al. 2004, Darnaude 2005, Merigot et al. 2007), Ligurian Sea (Molinari and Tunesi 2003), Ionian Sea, Tyrrhenian Sea (Guarniero et al. 2002) and Aegean Sea (Koutrakis and Tsikliras 2003, Koutrakis et al. 2005, Karakulak et al. 2006, Gokce and Metin 2007, Ozaydin et al. 2007). It is also present in Bosphorus and the southwest Black Sea.
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Algeria; Belgium; Bulgaria; Cape Verde; Croatia; Cyprus; Denmark; Egypt; France; Germany; Gibraltar; Greece; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Lebanon; Libya; Malta; Mauritania; Monaco; Morocco; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Senegal; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Syrian Arab Republic; Tunisia; Turkey; United Kingdom; Western Sahara
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – northeast; Atlantic – eastern central; Mediterranean and Black Sea
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):200
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Eastern Central Atlantic
This is a common and abundant species throughout its range. In the Eastern Central Atlantic, this species is much less abundant than S. senegalensis. It is targeted with S. senegalensis, although there are no separate catch statistics.

According to Mouillot et al. (2007), one specimen was caught in 13 stations of two coastal brackish lagoons of south France in November 2002 (Saint-Nazaire and Salse-Leucate) by means of a beach seine.

Rolland et al. (2007) report that 60 specimens from the Gulf of Lion, 29 from the Adriatic Sea and 27 from the Aegean Sea were collected from 2000 to 2002,

Four hundred and fifty specimens (5.1 cm to 37.1 cm TL) were collected from ten sites in the Gulf of Lion, by local fishermen using gill nets and trawls, from 1989 and 2004 (Merigot et al. 2007).

According to Karakulak et al. (2006), one specimen with TL = 35.2 cm was collected from a survey conducted for selectivity by gill and trammel nets in the coastal waters of Turkey from March 2004 to February 2005.

Koutrakis and Tsikiras (2003) report that 21 specimens (11.0 to 22.1 cm TL) were sampled using various fishing gear (beach-seine, fyke-net, gill nets) in three north Aegean estuarine systems. Porto-Lagos (NE Aegean) and a shallow coastal lagoon were sampled between December 1988 and September 1990.

Gokce and Metin (2007) mention that 92 specimens were collected using three artisanal fishing boats (6.7 and 10 m long) comprising 39 fishing operations. The trials took place between May and October 2003 in Izmir Bay, Turkey. The fishing gear was combined trammel net to trammel net with one lower and one upper part. Each part is formed of three layers: the inner layer with a small mesh size (40 mm stretched mesh), the outer layers with a larger mesh size (220 mm stretched mesh). These nets, each 100 m long and 1.30 m deep, are hung to a common float line and lead line.

Solea solea annual landings (tons) in the Mediterranean Sea (1996–2005), obtained from the FAO FISHSTAT Fisheries Statistical Database (2007): 5,178 (1996), 4,138 (1997), 2,684 (1998), 2,530 (1999), 3,445 (2000), 3,182 (2001), 3,776 (2002), 4,377 (2003), 3,878 (2004), and 3,807 (2005).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This is a benthic species that occurs at a temperature range of 8.0-24.0°C (Moreira et al. 1992). It burrows into sandy and muddy substrata from zero to 200 m, but usually 10-60 m. It retreats to deeper water during winter (Frimodt 1995). It feeds on worms, molluscs and small crustaceans at night. In the Gulf of Lion, polychaetes represent the 80% of the diet (Salen-Picard et al. 2002). It is frequently present in coastal lagoons in the south of France (Mouillot et al. 2007).

Reproduction starts after three to five years of age, when they reach 25-30 cm. Spawning happens mainly during the months of February to May (off the coasts of Galicia, for example), although in warmer areas (such as the Mediterranean Sea), it can occur at the beginning of the winter. Maximum age is 26 years (maybe off Norway).
Movement patterns:Full Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This is a species with high commercial interest.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This is a species with high commercial interest. It is typically caught with trawls and seines throughout its range.

In some countries within the northern part of its range in the Eastern Central Atlantic, such as Mauritania and Senegal, it is targeted, but with no information on catch or effort. In many parts of its range, juveniles are also taken in estuaries which may be an important nursery ground. This species is also taken as by-catch in commercial trawling throughout its range.

Solea senegalensis is now extending its range to the west Mediterranean Sea and is thought to be competing with S. solea, at least in the northwest part of the basin.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no specific conservation measures in place. More research is need regarding this species' taxonomy and population information.

Citation: Tous, P., Sidibe, A., Mbye, E., de Morais, L., Camara, Y.H., Adeofe, T.A., Monroe, T., Camara, K., Cissoko, K., Djiman, R., Sagna, A. & Sylla, M. 2015. Solea solea. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T198739A15595369. . Downloaded on 21 August 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided