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Spotted halibut fish identification, Habitats, Fishing methods, fish characteristics

The Spotted halibut, Verasper variegatus, is a demersal fish that lives on sandy, muddy bottoms in the sublittoral coastal zone at depths of up to 330 ft (100 m). It can reach 24 in (60 cm) in length and can weigh up to 8.8 lb (4.0 kg). Spotted halibut Verasper variegatus is one of the commercially important flatfishes in Japan and the only species of Genus Verasper in China. They are native to Yokohama, Tokyo, Onomichi, and Matsushima. Its range is almost exclusively southerly, while Barfin flounder, Verasper moseri, is confined to northern Japan.
Spotted-Halibut The Spotted halibut, Verasper variegatus, also known as Hoshi-garei in Japanese, Hosigarei in Korean, Палтус Пятнистый in Russian, is a flatfish of the family Pleuronectidae, is the only species of Genus Verasper in China. Its native habitat is the northwestern Pacific, from Japan to Korea and the East China Sea. The fish was naturally distributed in Yellow Sea and Bohai Bay Sea in northern China, in central Japan, Kyushu and in Southern Japan, north to Matsushima Bay and in Southwestern Coastal of Korean sea

Spotted halibut reaches approximately 60 cm total length. The body is long, oval-shaped, and egg-like with wider body width, a little larger than half of the length. Head is 1/3rd of a length to caudal base. Mouth wide oblique, the gape strongly arched; maxillary length is 1/3rd of a head and is reaching to below posterior edge of pupil; lower jaw strongly projecting; posterior end of mandible forming a slight angle at lower outline of head; cone teeth in two series in upper jaw, in 1 on side of lower jaw and in 2 lines in front row.
Eyes are on the right side of the body, length 1/6 of a head, snout is 1/3. Posterior margins of eyes opposite, toward the scales comb; interorbital space between eyes slightly curved, covered with rough scales; its width equal to diameter of pupil; gill rakers flat and short, 6 of them on lower limb of arch. Dorsal fin beginning above front of pupil of upper eye; pectoral rounded at tip, that of eyed side, is half of a head, the other 2 ¼. The ventral fins are small, even on both sides, 3 1/5th in head and located ahead of the anal fin; caudal broadly rounded, not angulated at tips of outer rays. Flounder Anatomy
The lateral line has low slightly arch next to the pectoral fin and the rest part goes almost straight posteriorly to the front caudal fin; height of curve, three-fifths diameter of eye; length of curve, 2 ½ to 2 4/5th in head; scales everywhere very rough on eyed side, cycloid on blind side except an area along middle of body anteriorly, where they are rather rough by reason of a few small spinules on each scale, or in many instances a single spinule. Eyes toward the comb the scales and mixed with a round scales tongue. The upper nail-head close to the end of the upper edge.

Key characters

Eyes are on the right side of the body. Lateral line is almost straight with low arch next to the pectoral fin. The fins are spotted with black, but not barred.
  • 76-87 Dorsal fin rays
  • 53-68 Anal fin rays
  • 10-12 Pectoral fin rays
  • 6 Pelvic fin rays
  • 78-91 Scales in Lateral line
  • 41-42 Vertebrae
  • Max length: 60.0 cm
  • Max weight: 4.0 kg
  • Spotted Halibut Anatomy

    Body is thick yellowish brown to consistently dark brown. The dorsal fin has 6 or 7, and anal fin has 5 or 6, large circular black or dark-brown spots with blended edges, the largest covering 3 or 4 rays; these nearly round near the base of the fins and not reaching the outer edge of the fin; usually 1 or 2 other spots irregularly placed opposite the interspaces and nearer edge of fin; caudal with 2 or 3 similar but smaller shorter spots irregularly placed. Blind side of body posterior to pectoral irregularly spotted with dark brown, the spots usually round, and as large, or sometimes larger than, the pupil, these present in all of our larger specimens and absent in the smaller ones up to 5 or 6 inches in length, except in one example, where they show faintly; tip of caudal of blind side soiled with dusky brown.
        This species may be known from Barfin flounder, Verasper moseri, by having spots on the vertical fins rather than well-defined regslar streaks extending to the edges of the fins and by the higher, more rapid arch of the lateral line. The blind side of Barfin flounder is sometimes irregularly spotted, but never, in our specimens, so thickly or so conspicuously. In both species the blind side is largely rusty red in life. Distinguish from Starry Flounder by the asteroid spot on an origin fin and multiple spots dotted the on backside.

    The species inhabits sandy or muddy sea beds in coastal areas 200 meter deep in the sea. When its total length is over 3 cm, it inhabits the lower floor of the sea stopping its floating life. Found in the sublittoral zone above 100 m. Spotted halibut use the shallow brackish lagoon as an important nursery for juveniles, and also as a feeding ground for young and adults. It has a high-adaptability to low-salinity environments and prefers an intermediate salinity from the late metamorphic larval stage. They migrate from west cost to the South in October – November when the water temperature falls to 9 for spawning and stay in warmer waters until March. When spring comes, starting in March, they move north.
        Spotted halibut feeds on crustaceans, shellfish, and small fish, mysids, caridean shrimps, and anomurans to brachyura Hemigrapsus. The young feed on a small-sized shrimps are crustaceans, shellfish, and lightning flash worms

    Spotted Halibut spawns in winter (December to February) under the temperature ranged from 4°C to 13°C in the southern coast. The juveniles inhabit shallow intertidal areas, and 1-year-old and older fish migrate to deeper waters during May to June possibly to avoid high water temperature and also to prepare for maturation and would join the adult stocks after December.
        Metamorphosing larvae migrated into the estuarine tidal flats during March; newly settled juveniles inhabited the shallow intertidal areas; and juveniles had a remarkably high growth in shallow coastal areas. In juveniles about 16 mm in length the right eye a flit for beginning to move, the metamorphosis in general will be done when juveniles 21 mm length. After that they grows slowly, if in August they are 10 cm in length, in October they 12 cm and slowly grow up and move deep into the velocity. It is suggested that young fish around 30 cm total length during May–June migrated from the nursery grounds in Ariake Bay to deeper waters.

    Fishing Methods:
    Spotted halibut recently has attracted attention as a new species for marine stock enhancement because of its rich nutrition, high value in the market, high growth rate, high market price (about $25-100/kg), and depleted population size. The Tokyo-style sushi values high and is expensive. There is time when it is higher than any other flatfish. Most are considered to be sashimi, but the body which there is fat, and is smooth is delicious.
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