Dory, the name of a family of scomberoid fishes, distinguished from the others of the group by having protractile mouths. This family of zeidoe contains the six genera of zeus (Linn.), capros (Lacep.), caprophonus (Mull. and Trosch.), lampris (Risso), equula (Cuv.), and mene (Lacep.) The name of dory is generally restricted to the genus zeus (Linn.), characterized by one dorsal fin deeply notched, or two contiguous dorsals of which the anterior is spinous, with delicate filaments projecting far beyond the spines; the ventrals, also spiny, are a little in advance of the pectorals; there are two anals, or two divisions of a single anal, the anterior portion being spinous and the posterior soft, like the dorsals; the caudal is distinct and rounded at the end; there are several bony dermal bifurcated plates or shields along the basis of the dorsal and anal fins; the branchiostegal rays are seven; the teeth numerous, small, and feeble; the stomach large and caecal, with very numerous pyloric caeca; air bladder large, simple, and oval.
The best known species is the common or John dory (Z. faber, Linn.), a fish attaining a length of over 2 ft., of a grotesque form, and a yellowish tint; the body is smooth, oval, and much compressed; the mouth is large, and capable of such protrusion that the length from the point of the lower jaw to the posterior angle of the operculum may be made as great as from this angle to the base of the tail; the teeth are in a single row; the eyes are large, lateral, high up on the head, and with yellow irides; behind and over each eye is a spine. The general color is olive brown tinged with yellow, with blue, white, and golden reflections rapidly varying; on each side, very near the middle of the oval, is a round black spot surrounded by a narrow light ring. This fish was well known to the ancients, who expressed their regard for it by giving it the name of Jupiter. It has received a number of popular names, among others that of "St. Peter's fish;" with the haddock it disputes the honor of having been the species out of whose mouth this apostle took the tribute money, bearing on its sides, according to one popular tradition, the black spots indicating the marks of his finger and thumb; another tradition assigns the origin of these spots to the similar touch of St. Christopher as he bore the Saviour, wading through an arm of the sea.
The name of dory has been derived from the French adoree (worshipped), and doree (golden); the prefix of John has been derived from the French jaune (yellow). From the resemblance of the first dorsal fin to a cock's comb, it has been called sea chicken, gal, gallo, and in Gascony jau (cock), to which also some have traced the epithet of John, the whole name meaning the "gilt cock of the sea." This species is found in the Mediterranean, along the western coast of Europe, at the Canary islands, and on the English and Irish coasts; in England it is most common on the coasts of Devonshire and Cornwall. Its forbidding appearance has prevented it from being so much prized as an article of food as it deserves; it was highly esteemed, however, by the ancient Romans, and is now a favorite in many parts of England. It is a deep-water fish, and feeds on the fry of other species, shrimps, and mollusks; the average weight in the London market is 3 or 4 1bs., but some from the bay of Biscay have been seen weighing 12 to 16 lbs. It often follows the pilchards, being very voracious, and is caught in the same nets with them; it readily takes the hook when baited with a living fish.
In June, 1858, Dr. D. II. Storer described the first species of this genus found in American waters, in the "Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History" (vol. vi., p. 385); this is the spotted dory (Z. ocellatus, Storer), captured at Provincetown, Mass. The color is cupreous, marked with numerous dark circular spots; the base of the second dorsal is longer than that of the first; along the dorsal fin are seven bony spinous plates, along the anal five, along the abdomen eight, and along the throat four; the length was six inches. - The name of dory has been applied in this country to other scomberoid fishes of the genera blepharis (Cuv.), argyreiosus (Lacep.), and vomer (Cuv.); these were included by Linnaeus and Bloch in the genus zeus, from which they were separated by Cuvier. These American dories have a very compressed body and very singular forms. In the genus blepharis the body is sharp on the edges, with a brilliant smooth skin; the dorsal and anal fins have filamentous rays from 4 to 12 in. in length, which from their resemblance to wax ends have obtained for them in the West Indies the name of cordonniers (shoemakers). In the genus argyreiosus the second and third rays, or only the first, of one or both dorsals are filamentous; the great perpendicularity of the facial line gives a ridiculously solemn expression to this genus; these fishes are occasionally taken in the waters of New York, and are considered excellent food.
The genus vomer has a similar vertical profile and silvery lustre, but no filaments or prolongations of the fins; it is esteemed for food; the V. Brownii (Val.) of the New York coast is from 8 to 12 in. long.
John Dory (Zeus fabor).