If there was ever a marine species that could stand as a frontman for a punk rock band, it would be the John Dory – wild eyes, grumpy lips and a spiky mohican make this aquatic animal only a Class away from John Lydon. We bring you all you need to know about our “Wildlife of the Week”, John Dory:

Species: Zeus Faber

Class: Actinopterygii

Status: Least Concern

Diet: Bony fish, squid, sardines

Size: Can grow up to 60cm but usually around 40cm

Weight: 3 – 4.5 kg 

Life span: 12 years in the wild

Behaviour: A solitary fish that can be found close to the seabed 

Distribution: Eastern Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Western Pacific, Eastern Atlantic, Black Sea, Mediterranean

Ecosystem: Deep reefs and soft bottoms

5 fast facts: 

  • John Dory spawns by a behaviour known as substrate scattering, where females scatter their eggs, haphazardly, on the seafloor, and males release their sperm in the same location to fertilise them externally
  • The body features a large false eye which is to warn predators and confuse prey
  • There is some speculation over the origins of the name “John Dory”. Some believe its name is derived from the French word “Jaune”, meaning yellow, while legend describes the dark spot or false eye as St Peter’s thumbprint
  • They usually stalk on their prey, shoot out a tube on the mouth of its captive to get their food. They eat many varieties of fish, like sardines, squid, cuttlefish, but they mostly feed on schooling fish
  • The John Dory takes advantage of its slender body, which allows it to sneak up on its prey. Its large eyes at the front of the head provide it with bifocal vision and depth perception, which are important for predators