The megrim, megrim sole, whiff, or Cornish sole[1] (Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis) is a species of left-eyed flatfish in the family Scophthalmidae. It is found in the northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea between 100 and 700 m (330 and 2,300 ft) below sea level.[2] It is caught commercially by some countries.[2]

Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis 4G.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Pleuronectiformes
Family: Scophthalmidae
Genus: Lepidorhombus
L. whiffiagonis
Binomial name
Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis
(Walbaum, 1792)
  • Lepidorhombus megastoma Donovan, 1804
  • Pleuronectes megastoma Donovan, 1804
  • Pleuronectes pseudopalus Pennant, 1812
  • Pleuronectes whiffiagonis Walbaum, 1792
  • Rhombus (Lepidorhombus) whiffiagonis (Walbaum, 1792)


It can grow up to 60 cm (24 in) in length.[2] It is left-eyed, has a slightly larger head than usual in flatfish, and with a narrower body than usual. The dorsal and ventral fins are relatively short and start far back on the body. The colouration is usually light brown with dark spots across the body and dark grey fins. It lacks the highly distinct dark spots found on the fins in its close relative, the four-spot megrim (L. boscii).[citation needed]


The megrim is usually found over a sandy or muddy sea floor. They are predators and eat small fish and squid and also consume crustaceans. In turn megrim are themselves prey for larger species such as sharks, seals and large cod. Megrim spawn in deep waters off Iceland and the west of Ireland, while there is a separate spawning population in the Mediterranean.[3]


This species is found throughout European waters and the Northeast Atlantic including the Sea of the Hebrides.[4] Megrim are also found off the north coast of Africa and in parts of the Mediterranean.[3]

Commercial valueEdit

Megrim are commercially valuable and are caught by a number of nations around Europe. It is caught by bottom trawling and is directly targeted in some fisheries, whereas in others it is retained as a valuable bycatch.[5] France and Spain are the largest consumers of this species with most of the megrim caught in British water being exported to these nations. However, there has been a drive in Britain to get people to eat more megrim as a way of taking pressure off overexploited fish such as cod and haddock.[6] Megrim can be cooked in a number of different ways with grilling, baking, frying and poaching all effective ways of preparing this species. It has been described as being similar to sole or plaice in terms of preparation, but not being comparable in terms of flavour or texture.[7] In the UK, megrim has been given the alternative name of Cornish sole as a way of making this species, most of the UK catch of which was formerly exported to the European Union, more appealing to UK consumers after Brexit.[3][8]


  1. ^ "Brexit: 'Under-loved' fish renamed for British tastes". BBC News. 9 February 2021. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2014). "Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis" in FishBase. May 2014 version.
  3. ^ a b c "Megrim". Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  4. ^ C.Michael Hogan, (2011) Sea of the Hebrides Archived May 24, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. Eds. P. Saundry & C.J.Cleveland. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and the Environment. Washington DC.
  5. ^ "Species Guide - Megrim" (PDF). Seafish. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  6. ^ "Pass notes No 2,992: The megrim". The Guardian. 13 June 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
  7. ^ "Megrim recipes". BBC Food. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  8. ^ "Seafood surprise: could rebranding this ugly fish as 'Cornish Sole' make Brits eat it?". The Guardian. 9 February 2021. Retrieved 9 February 2021.

Further readingEdit