Species encyclopedia

John Dory

Zeus faber


The John Dory is a solitary fish that lives above sandy or muddy seabeds, up to 600 m deep. It is most common between 50 and 150 m below the surface.

The John Dory moves slowly by rippling its fins. A poor swimmer, it hunts by lying in wait for its prey, feeding on small fish, cuttlefish and crustaceans.

After a long approach, it seizes its prey with its protractile mouth that can extend up to half the length of its body. It has even been reported that the John Dory can cover itself with sand in order to surprise its prey.


In temperate waters, the John Dory reproduces between June and August. The females lay 2.5 mm eggs that float in the open water. By the time they hatch, the larvae have grown to 4 mm.

The meat of the John Dory is delicious and of great commercial value.

This fish, also known as 'Peter's fish', got that name from the black spots on its sides, interpreted in the lore as the marks of St Peter's thumb and index finger that he left when he caught the fish at the order of Jesus Christ to remove a gold coin from its mouth.



Species encyclopedia

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