The John Dory is a highly distinctive fish that looks like a flat oval plate on edge. It has a big head with a sad face and a dark spot on each side. (this was said to be St Peter’s thumb print and led to this fish being called St Peter’s fish). The first part of the dorsal fin is made up of nine of ten long sharp spines. When seen head on the thin body all but disappears, this is used to good effect by the fish when hunting. Its pray are small fish such as sand eels and herring and divers have seen then hunting two spotted gobies.
The John Dory is widely distributed worldwide and is often spotted by divers while diving the South coast of Ireland, they can be spotted over rocky reefs in strands of tall seaweed and over sand especially in sheltered bays. It is generally a solitary fish although small groups can sometimes be seen.