Dories are bony fish in the family Zeidae. A dory has an oval body with a back that rises so that the main part of the body is higher than the head. The body itself is relatively thin and compressed and appears oval in side view.
Another distinguishing mark of the dories is a dark spot on each side of the body surrounded by a yellow ring. Dories typically are found in the middle depths of the seas where they live. Dories have extensible jaws, which can be extended outward as they capture their prey. This ability may explain why dories have relatively small teeth for a carnivore. Dories move slowly toward their prey, then display a burst of speed while extending their jaws to finish the kill.
The best known of the dories is Zeus faber, the John dory, which is found in the Atlantic Ocean from northern Europe to the tip of Africa, in the Mediterranean, and in the Pacific Ocean. The tasty John dory is a popular target for commercial fishermen. Specimens of Zeus faber can reach sizes of up to 3.3 ft (1 m). In Australia, the silver dory (Cyttus australis ) is also a popular commercial fish. Despite the usual aversion people have to the “fishy” taste and smell of seafood that is not freshly caught, the John dory is said to taste better when aged several days after being caught.
The American John dory, Zeus ocellata, can be found all along the Atlantic coast of North America reaching 2.3 ft (0.7 m). Unlike its European counterpart, it is not a popular commercial species.
Fishermen often call the John dory “St. Peter’s fish,” a name that refers to the Apostle Peter who was at one time a fisherman. Two dark spots appear on the john dory as on other dories, one on each side of the body, which are said to be St. Peter’s fingerprints.