John Dory, Zeus faber Click to enlarge image
A John Dory at a depth 34 m, Forster Pinnacles, New South Wales, September 2002. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    faber
    Genus
    Zeus
    Family
    Zeidae
    Order
    Zeiformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 66 cm in length.

Introduction

The John Dory is a distinctively compressed, silvery fish with a black 'thumbprint' on the side of the body. The common name, St Peter's fish, refers to the biblical story in which Peter brings a fish to Jesus.



Identification

The John Dory has a highly compressed head and body. It has a large oblique mouth and bucklers on the second dorsal and anal fin bases. The species is dark brown as juveniles and silvery as adults. There is a large dark grey blotch ringed with white on the side of the body.

Distribution

The species is known from temperate marine waters of the Eastern Atlantic and Indo-West Pacific. In Australia it occurs in depths of 1 m to 150 m from southern Queensland, around the south of the country and north to the central coast of Western Australia.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.



Economic impacts

It is a highly regarded table fish and fetches high market prices.

References

  1. Edgar, G.J. 1997. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books. Pp. 544.
  2. Bray, D.J. in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
  3. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
  6. Whitley, G.P. 1966. Marine Fishes of Australia. Vol. 1. Jackaranda Press. Pp. 142.