John Dory

Dive into the world of the enigmatic john dory, a uniquely-shaped coastal predator, renowned for its distinct appearance and enticing allure for anglers.
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Where and When?

John dory have an unusual and disjunct distribution and there are two main areas in which they are found. One area extends from Norway southwards through the Mediterranean Sea, round South Africa and up towards Madagascar, while the other extends from Japan southwards, erratically, to New Zealand. This strange looking species seems to have little temperature preference and, although mostly coastal, can be found in depths from 5-360 m. (360-1 200 ft.). John dory usually stay close to the seabed and is often associated with rocky areas and marine algae in shallow water areas. John dory can be caught throughout the year and especially in winter prior to its spawning time. They appear to be fairly locally resident and often associated with structure. In places such as New Zealand and Australia they are often caught from piers or in harbours. They feed throughout the day and night and may be caught at any time. In areas where there are currents or strong tidal movements they feed most enthusiastically in the slack water when they emerge from cover to capture prey.

About John Dory

The john dory (Zeus faber) is a charismatic and unmistakable, medium-sized, benthopelagic (bottom loving) marine fish predator popular in the areas in which they occur. These fish are extremely laterally compressed which results in a disc shape that has a very small profile from the front. The large eyes, right at the front of the head, give them binocular and lateral vision resulting in good depth perception for ambushing prey. The colour in this species is varied but mostly brown/grey mottling, with a large dark “target eye” right in the middle of the body. The mouth is very large and is projected outwards to engulf prey. The rays on the dorsal fin are greatly extended into long spikes. They can grow to 65 cm. (24 in.) and 5 kg. (12 lbs.) and can live up to 12 years. John dory feed on small shoaling fish, such as sardines and occasionally shrimps and squid. Individuals lead solitary lives and spawning takes place towards the end of winter. They are a coastal species with no known large-scale migrations.