information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Topknot (Zeugopterus punctatus)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.



Zeugopterus punctatus is a left-handed flatfish with its eyes on the left side of the body. It has a very deep body oval body that can reach up to 25 cm in length. Its mouth is very protractile. Scales on the eyed side have fine spiny outgrowths that are like rough fur to the touch. The topknot is marbled brown in colour with darker spots and blotches and a dark bar through the eyes.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Widely distributed throught British and Irish waters.

Global distribution



The topknot is a littoral benthic species usually found on stones and rocks or amongst seaweed beds.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Left-handed flatfish with a deep oval body.
  • Up to 25 cm in length.
  • Ctenoid scales on the eyed side have fine spiny outgrowths.
  • Bony tubercles on the eyed side are absent.
  • Marbled brown colouration with darker spots.
  • Dark bar through the eyes.

Additional information

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Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

Search on:


  1. Froese, R. & Pauly, D., 2007. Fishbase. A global information system on fishes. [On-line], 2008-02-18

  2. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  3. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas website. Available from:  Accessed 01 April 2017

  4. OBIS,  2018. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2018-09-22

  5. Whitehead, P.J.P., Bauchot, M.-L., Hureau, J.-C., Nielson, J. & Tortonese, E. 1986. Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Vol. I, II & III. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).


This review can be cited as:

Barnes, M.K.S. 2008. Zeugopterus punctatus Topknot. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 22-09-2018]. Available from:

Last Updated: 02/09/2008