Greenland Halibut/Turbot | Oceana Canada

Canadian Marine Life Encyclopedia

Greenland Halibut/Turbot

Reinhardtius hippoglossoides

Also known as

Newfoundland turbot, flatty, turbot, blue halibut, black halibut


Circumpolar. In the northeast Pacific from Alaska to Mexico, and in the northwest Atlantic


Soft bottoms in arctic and temperate waters

Feeding Habits

Active predator

Conservation Status

Not listed


Order Pleuronectiformes (flatfishes); Family Pleuronectidae (right-eye flounders)


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Greenland halibut are a large flatfish that have both eyes on the right side of their head. Their close relatives, the Atlantic halibut and Pacific halibut, use this design to swim flat against the ocean floor, as do Greenland halibut. However, Greenland halibut are also known to swim vertically, thanks to their eyes being closer to the front of their head than their relatives, allowing them to look forward while swimming upright. Greenland halibut use this ability to swim vertically to help them migrate and forage for food. 

Greenland halibut are diamond-shaped flatfish. They are fairly uniform in colour, ranging from yellowish to greyish-brown, with a paler grey underbelly. They are closely related to Atlantic and Pacific halibut, but can be distinguished from Atlantic halibut by their straight lateral line (the Atlantic halibut has a more arched lateral line) and their smaller size. They can grow up to about one metre in length and weigh more than 10 kilograms.