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Fish #197A Witch Glyptocephalus cynoglossus ~ William Pavitt
Gouache 40 x 50 cm
Fish #197 Witch Glyptocephalus cynoglossus ~ Sally Harman
Common names: Witch, Witch flounder, Pole flounder, craig fluke, Torbay sole and grey sole. This is a species of flatfish from the family Pleuronectidae.
Etymology : Glyptocephalus - glyptes = Greek to carve - kephale = Greek for head.
It is rather a deep water fish and frequents fine sediments e.g. clay and muddy sand. It is a right handed (viscera on the right side as the fish lies) and a small-mouthed flounder. The fin rays are more numerous than similar flounders with 100-115 dorsal fin rays and 87-100 anal fin rays. The scales are smooth to the touch which makes the witch slippery to hold. It feeds on invertebrates like small crustaceans, starfish, molluscs and worms as its chief diet. Until 10 days after hatching the eyes are still symmetrical. Then the left eye moves to the dorsal surface of the head in larvae of ~ 40mm. The migration of the eye is complete at a length of 40-50mm., when the young fish takes to the bottom. It is a slow growing species. Sexual maturity is reached at 3-4yr. and they have a life span of approximately 14 years.
It is an excellent table fish. The name Torbay sole appears to be a mainly culinary term following the habit of renaming certain fish to broaden their appeal.
I liked the shape of the fish and its dappled, camouflaged dorsal surface with the prominent lateral line. Flatfish have an unusual juvenile development which results in both eyes being on the dorsal surface.
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