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Halibut DSC02249.JPG

Halibut ( Hippoglossus hippoglossus )

Order : Carangiformes
Partial order : Flatfish (Pleuronectoideo)
Family : Plaice (Pleuronectidae)
Genre : Hippoglossus
Type : Halibut
Scientific name
Hippoglossus hippoglossus
( Linnaeus , 1758)

The halibut ( Hippoglossus hippoglossus ) or white halibut occurs in the North Atlantic and, with a body length of up to 300 cm and a weight of up to 400 kg, is the largest species of flatfish . A halibut can live up to 50 years. Despite its name, this genus does not belong to the Butte family , but to the plaice .

The sister species in the North Pacific is the Pacific halibut ( Hippoglossus stenolepis ). In the North Atlantic, a right-eyed flatfish that is not closely related, but also grows quite large, is misleadingly referred to as the black halibut ( Reinhardtius hippoglossoides ). All three species of halibut are edible fish .

“Alaska halibut” is, however, only a trade name for the plaice species Atheresthes stomias , see also Alaska pollock .

Appearance and way of life

Halibut typically have both eyes on the right side of the head, so they are right-eyed flatfish. They have spotted tops and gray-white undersides; They can be distinguished from other flatfish by their triangular, weakly edged tail and by their unusual size. The females of this species are usually larger than their male counterparts and have a longer life expectancy.

Like all flatfish, halibut live on the sea floor down to a water depth of 1500 meters, but sometimes also pelagic . The animals eat crabs, fish and octopuses.


The spawning season is from February to May in the North Sea , from June to August in Iceland and in winter in the Atlantic. The female lays up to 2 million eggs and the fry hatch 9 to 16 days after spawning. The animals only reach sexual maturity at the age of 10 to 14 years.

Hazardous situation

The assessment of the International Union for Conservation of Nature IUCN from 1996 in the Red List of Endangered Species needs an update. The halibut is considered endangered here ( endangered ). In Norway, halibut (as of 2015) is not considered endangered, but is subject to catch restrictions.


  • Philip Whitfield (ed.): The great world empire of animals. 2000 mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians at a glance. Marshall, London 1992, ISBN 3-8247-8614-1 , pp. 576-577.
  • Bent J. Muus, Jørgen G. Nielsen: The marine fish of Europe, in the North Sea, Baltic Sea and Atlantic. Kosmos, Stuttgart 1999, ISBN 3-440-07804-3 .
  • John R. Paxton (Ed.): Encyclopedia of Fishes. Weltbild-Verlag, Augsburg 1999, ISBN 3-8289-1558-2 , p. 226.
  • David Burnie (Ed.), Mariele Radmacher-Martens: Animals: The large picture encyclopedia with over 2,000 species. Translated from the English by Gabriele Lehari. Dorling Kindersley, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-8310-2232-8 , p. 528.

Web links

Commons : Halibut ( Hippoglossus hippoglossus )  - Collection of images, videos, and audio files
Wiktionary: Halibut  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Hippoglossus hippoglossus in the endangered Red List species the IUCN 2009 Posted by: J. Sobel, 1996. Accessed on March 6 of 2010.
  2. Entry on artsdatabanken.no of the Norwegian Biodiversity Information Center