Zeus conchifer Lowe, 1852, Madeira.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Mirror dory (Australia), sailfin dory, silvery John Dory; Portuguese: Peixe galo, falo branco.
Attains a total length (including the tail fin) of 2 ft, 8 in (80 cm) and a weight of 9 lb (4 kg). The head and body are very compressed and shaped like an oblong disc, or dinner platter. The dorsal head profile is slightly concave. Dorsal fin spines of the adult are elongated and filamentous. The body has no scales. There is a row of five to eight bony bucklers, each with a strong spine, along each side of the bases of the anal and both dorsal fins. There are two or three bucklers on the isthmus and ventral midline of the chest in front of the pelvic fins and seven or eight pairs of bucklers (ridged bony scutes) along the ventral midline of the abdomen, from the base of the pelvic fins to the first anal fin spine. The thoracic region is compressed. The pelvic fins are large and close together, inserted on the chest below the eyes and well in front of the pectoral fins. Each has six or seven soft rays. The first pelvic ray could be considered a spine, because it is unbranched and not segmented, but (unlike the pelvic fin spine of Zeus ) it is a biserial (double) ray. There are five to eight bony bucklers (enlarged, platelike scales) along the base of the soft dorsal and anal fins and seven to 10 pairs of spiny scutes along the belly, from the base of the pelvic fins to the anus. The dorsal fin has nine to 10 spines and 24–27 rays; the anal fin has three spines (the first two movable and the third fixed) and 24–26 rays. The caudal fin has 11 branched rays; the pectoral fins are much smaller than the pelvic fins, with 12 or 13 rays. Dorsal, anal, and pectoral fin rays are unbranched. Adults are silvery with a faint, dusky mid-lateral spot above the pectoral fin and below the lateral line. Small juveniles, 1–4 in (2–10 cm) long, are covered with scattered small black spots.
Mainly continental. Western Atlantic from Canada to Argentina, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, and eastern Atlantic from France and British Isles to South Africa. Also in the Indian Ocean from South Africa to Kenya and India.
Adults are found over soft (sandy or muddy) or hard (rocky) substrata. They are demersal, usually caught near the bottom of the continental shelf or upper continental slope region at depths of 33–1,188 ft (10–360 m). Occasionally found in midwater well above the bottom.
of the buckler dory is poorly known, as this species is rarely observed in shallow water. Adults usually are found in aggregations near the bottom. A slow, stalking, ambush- predator mode of hunting is assumed, and the greatly protrusible upper jaw compensates for the feeble swimming musculature.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Feeds on demersal fishes, crustaceans, and cephalopods and often makes excursions above the bottom to feed on midwater fishes. Prey species selection is influenced by availability and accessibility. The dominant species in the diet is likely to be the most abundant prey in the
. Adult buckler dory have few predators other than great white sharks and goosefish (Lophius spp.). Juveniles are likely prey for most piscivorous predators.
Reproduction is similar to that of the John dory (see following account).
Not listed by IUCN. The species is taken as bycatch in various trawl fisheries in the North Atlantic, off southern Brazil, Namibia, and South Africa. There are no fishing regulations or catch data that apply specifically to the buckler dory.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
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