John Dory

The John Dory (Zeus faber or Zeus Ocellata) also known as St. Pierre, is a species of fish with widespread distribution. They are found on the coast of South West Africa, South East Asia and Australia, the coasts of Japan, and on the coasts of Europe. They live near the seabed, living in depths from 16 to as much as 1200 feet. They are mainly solitary. There are several explanations of how it got its common name. Dory may have come from the French dorée (glided), or maybe John could refer to the Spanish juane (yellow). There is also an allusion to John Dory, the hero of an old ballad.

The John Dory grows to no more than 25.6 inches in length and weighs 6.6 pounds. It has 10 long spines on its dorsal fin and 4 spines on its anal fin. It has microscopic, sharp scales that run around the body. The fish is an olive green color with a silvery white belly and has a dark spot on its side. The dark spot is used to flash an ‘evil eye’ if danger approaches. Its eyes are near the top of its head. It has a flat, round body shape and is a poor swimmer.

The John Dory is the top predator in its habitat. It stalks its food and when close it shoots out a tube from its mouth to capture the prey. It eats a variety of fish, including sardines and other schooling fish. Squid and cuttlefish are also taken occasionally. This species is ready to reproduce once it reaches 3 to 4 years of age. This happens around the end of winter. They are substrate scatterers, which means that they release sperm and eggs into the water to fertilize. Typical lifespan is about 12 years in the wild.

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