Zeus faber

John Dory, St Pierre or Peter's Fish, refers to fish of the genus Zeus, especially Zeus faber, of widespread distribution. It is an edible demersal coastal marine fish with a laterally compressed olive-yellow body which has a large dark spot, and long spines on the dorsal fin. The dark spot is used to flash an 'evil eye' if danger approaches. Its large eyes at the front of the head provide it with binocular vision and depth perception, which are important for predators. The John Dory's eye spot on the side of its body also confuses prey, which are scooped up in its big mouth.

He lives most often at depths between 50 and 100 meters, and can be found at depths of several hundred meters. He is not a particular swimmer, mainly swims slowly and lightly, and lives mostly near the bottom, on all types of terrain.

Latin name

Zeus faber

Max. length

up to 90cm


12 years


The John Dory's meat is extremely delicious, soft and easy to digest, so this fish has always been highly appreciated among all those who love fish with not many bones. It can be prepared in many ways, but the most delicious is baked or grilled.

John Dory

The legendary etymology of this piscatorial designation is Janitore, the 'door-keeper,' in allusion to St. Peter, who brought a fish said to be of that species, to Jesus at his command." Other known names for the John Dory are the "St. Pierre", or "Peter's Fish", perhaps explaining why dories were often referred to as "Peter Boats", Saint Peter being the patron saint of fishermen.[5] A related legend says that the dark spot on the fish's flank is St. Peter's thumbprint.[6] In the north coast of Spain, it is known commonly as San Martiño.