Soleidae: CM I A2

Zebrias sp. Check also Zebrias regani (Gilchrist 1906), and Aesopia cornuta Kaup 1858.

Zebra sole

Egg diameter in µm

Number of oil globules

Diameter of oil globule in µm

Yolk texture

Perivitelline space

Position of oil globule at hatch

Gut length   at eye- pigment stage








44% of NL


Egg: The size, bold hexagonal pattern on the chorion, and  multiple ( 5-8) oil globules, make this egg unique off Park Rynie (A & B).  As the egg develops, both the embryo and the surface of the yolk become dotted with yellow pigment spots (B). Incubation is about 50 hours.

Larva: The newly hatched larva is leaflike, and covered in yellow pigment spots, forming a continuous line on the outer edge of the finfolds (C). The eyes and mouth are developing by day 2 (D), but the mouth is not functional. First feeding occurred at about 5 days. At 11 days the eye had not started to move (E), but at 16 days, flexion was complete and the eye was moving (F, 24°C).  C: 1 day, D: 2 days, E:  11 days, F: 16 days, G: 25 days, H: 33 days, I: 55 days.  The larva settled at about 21 days (25°C). Note that the above series might be a mix of two species (see notes below).

On 3 separate occasions I reared a Zebrias sp. from this egg (Plate I above), which I assumed was Z. regani, the only member of this genus previously recorded from South Africa. Heemstra and Heemstra (2004, pg 39), show a species of Zebrias from Aliwal Shoal, they consider as undescribed, which appears to be this species. Ikeda and Mito (1988) record Zebrias zebra and Aesopia cornuta as having eggs with a reticulated chorion. A. cornuta occurs in our waters (Heemstra and Gon 1986). Seven larval sequences are currently available, indicating two species, neither of which matches a single, locally collected adult Z. regani (BOLD).


Spawning was all year round off Park Rynie, with an increase in summer (blue graph). These eggs were not found in the DHM samples. The collection of eggs over the duration of the study off Park Rynie has shown no unusual trends (white graph). There were slightly more eggs offshore, in the Park Rynie linked samples (56%), but the low percentage indicates spawning inshore of the two indicator species, at 20-30m water depth. See Section 7.3 and Table 1 of the Introductory Notes, for more information on the linked samples.

Linked samples