The john dory (Zeus faber) is a species of fish found throughout the tropical and temperate latitudes of the world oceans, except in the Americas. There are several theories about the origination of the common name but little evidence about its actual meaning.
The john dory is an active predator and eats a variety of schooling fishes and invertebrates. It lives in a wide depth range, from 15ft to 1200ft and usually stays near the seafloor, over both soft and hard bottoms. John dories are medium-sized predators in the systems in which they live. They reach lengths of approximately two feet and weights of a few pounds. Larger bony fishes and sharks are known to feed on John Dories.
The discus-shaped body is broad when viewed from the side but very thin when viewed head on, giving the john dory the ability to confuse predators by “changing size” quickly, simply by turning to the side. The dark spot on its side is also meant to provide confusion.
According to Oceana, “the john dory is generally considered an excellent food fish and is targeted by commercial fisheries in some areas. Its conservation status is not currently known, but it is not fished as heavily as some closely related species. However, this species is targeted by bottom trawling, a method known to be highly destructive to benthic habitats. It is therefore important to carefully manage the fishing activities for the John Dory, in order to ensure that this species’ habitat is not irreversibly damaged.”