Thursday, July 18, 2013

The 'John Dory' Fish

Has a large black spot on its side to deter its enemies...

The John Dory is a very odd-looking fish for any angler to come across - definitely the oddest fish any angler in Southern England is likely to encounter.  This fish is relatively common, though, and has an oval body, strongly flattened laterally, with trailing, spiny fins.  It is almost completely rigid - which is rare in non-bottom-dwelling fish. The John Dory grows to a maximum size of 2 feet in length and 7 pounds in weight.

The John Dory's lack of flexibility makes it ill-equipped to give chase to its prey.  It adopts a slow, cautious approach instead; it drifts unnoticed towards its intended victim, with scarcely perceptible movements of the fins and tail, until it's in grabbing range.  From this point, out shoots the huge funnel-shaped mouth and the unsuspecting creature is sucked in as if by a vacuum cleaner.  Despite this enormous, protruding mouth, the John Dory has no teeth.  While this fish goes about its leisure stalking activities, its body can be seen to quiver all over and also change color, mottling alternately dark and light - which makes its movements difficult to follow.  This fish is also practically invisible when meeting head on because of its high and very narrow body.

The John Dory eats a variety of fish, especially schooling fish, such as sardines. Occasionally they eat squid and cuttlefish. Their predators are sharks, like the dusky shark, and large bony fish. The John Dory is a mid-water species, living at depths of 300 feet or so on average.  Due to its relative abundance, they often get caught accidentally in many trawls (they say it is a good food fish with firm, sweet flesh).

Per Wikipedia:  "John Dory are coastal fish, found on the coasts of Africa, South East Asia, New Zealand, Australia, the coasts of Japan, and on the coasts of Europe. They live near the seabed, living in depths from 15 feet to 1200 feet. They are normally solitary.
Reproduction and lifespan: After they are 3 or 4 years of age they are usually ready to reproduce. This happens around the end of winter. They are substrate scatterers, which means that they release sperm and eggs into the water to fertilize. Typical lifespan is about 12 years in the wild."

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---End of Post "The 'John Dory' Fish"

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