East Coast Sole
Sometimes known as the mud sole, the east coast sole is endemic to South Africa. It is found exclusively in the waters between the Cape Peninsula and KwaZulu-Natal, and prefers sandy or silty bottoms at depths of up to 120 metres. Like all members of the Soleidae
family, the east coast sole starts life as a standard fish larvae, with one eye on each side of its head. During development, the left eye migrates onto the right side of the body, and from then on, the sole lies flat on the mud on its left (or blind) side. It spends much of its life camouflaged in the bottom substrate, waiting to ambush prey (including small benthic invertebrates and fish). This species grows as large as 60 centimetres in length, and has a small dark spot at the base of each scale.
The Klein’s sole is also sometimes called the lace sole, a name derived from its beautiful patterned skin. Mainly brown in colour, the fish’s uppermost side is covered with irregular white or dark lines and spots. It is the only known member of its genus, and has been
recorded in the Eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the western Indian Ocean. In Southern Africa, however, it is exclusively found in South Africa. It prefers depths of between 20 and 120 metres, and thrives in both brackish and saltwater. The Klein’s sole grows up to 40 centimetres in length, and spends most of its time partially hidden in the mud or sand of the seafloor. Its eyes are both located on the right side of its body. Currently, it is listed as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red List.
Also called the lemon sole or patterned tonguesole, the double-lined tonguesole is part of the Cynoglossidae family, which differs from true soles in several important ways. Firstly, both eyes are located on the left side of the body, not the
right. Tonguesoles have no pectoral fins, and their snout hooks prominently over their mouth. This species is native to the Indo-Pacific, from the east coast of Africa to northeastern Australia. It lives on the muddy and sandy bottoms of the continental shelf (up to 25 metres), and is sometimes found in shallow estuaries. Tan in colour, it can be identified by its distinct marbled appearance. The double-lined tonguesole grows up to 30 centimetres in length, and has two lateral lines on its uppermost side.