Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides)

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



Reinhardtius hippoglossoides is a right-handed flatfish, which means it lies on its left side, with its eyes on its right side, and its abdomen at its right edge. It is either yellowish or grayish-brown and visibly paler below than above. It has a notably large mouth. Like all members of the halibut group it has a slightly concave tail and symmetrical ventral fins. It can be differentiated by its lateral line, which is nearly straight abreast of the pectoral fin, and by the smooth aspect of its ventral fins.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Usually restricted to waters further north it has been observed in the North Sea and has also been found off the western and northern coasts of Ireland.

Global distribution



A truly marine and benthopelagic species, which may be found down to a depth of 2000 m.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • A right-handed flatfish.
  • Up to 120 cm in length.
  • Yellowish or grayish brown in colour.
  • Smoothly curved and symmetrical ventral fins.
  • With a notably large mouth.
  • Straight lateral line.

Additional information

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  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. Nielsen, J.G., 1986. Pleuronectidae. UNESCO, Paris.

  4. Quigley, D.T.G., Flannery, K. & O'Shea, J., 1989. Specimens of the greenland halibut Reinhardtius (Walbaum 1792) from Irish waters. Irish Naturalists' Journal, 23, 111-112

  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).


  1. Centre for Environmental Data and Recording, 2018. Ulster Museum Marine Surveys of Northern Ireland Coastal Waters. Occurrence dataset accessed via on 2018-09-25.

  2. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from:

  3. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2024-06-23


This review can be cited as:

Barnes, M.K.S. 2008. Reinhardtius hippoglossoides Greenland halibut. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 23-06-2024]. Available from:

Last Updated: 24/06/2008