SOLE (Solea), the most valuable of European flat-fishes. 1 For most people who look at fish merely from the culinary point of view, soles are of two kinds: true soles, with such varieties as Dover soles and Brixham soles (slips being the name applied to young specimens), and lemon soles, an inferior fish, which is no sole at all, but a sort of dab (Glyptocephalus microcephalus). Leaving out the latter, there are five species on the British coasts; the common sole (Solea vulgaris) the French sole, or sand sole lemon sole of Yarrell (S. lascaris), the thick-back (S. variegata), and the solenette or little sole (S. lutea). All these agree in the right side being coloured and bearing the eyes, in the elongate form, in the small eyes (separated by a space covered with scaly skin, in the small, twisted mouth, with minute teeth on the colourless side only), and with the snout projecting beyond the mouth and more or less hooked. All true soles are excellent, but the common species is the only one which, from its larger size, growing to a length of 26 in. and attaining maturity at a length of about 10 in., regularly appears on all the markets. It occurs from the south-west coast of Scandinavia, Mecklenburg and Great Britain to the Mediterranean. Most of the best fishing grounds for soles lie comparatively near land, though the spawning takes place some miles away.
Much information on the life history of the sole will be found in the monograph by J. T. Cunningham (Plymouth, 1890).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)