John dory (Zeus faber) is a rather bizarre, thin fish that, when seen side-on, appears quite large. This oblique view gives a good impression of its thinness, which allows it to sneak up on prey. Its large eyes at the front of the head provide it with bifocal 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. It is more common north of Cook Strait, and it makes excellent eating. Māori know it as kuparu, and on the East Coast of the North Island, they gave some to Captain James Cook on his first voyage to New Zealand in 1769, and several casks of them were pickled. They are an important commercial species.
Using this item
Department of Conservation
Photograph by W. Farelly
This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.