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Der Heringskönig (Zeus faber) wird auch Petersfisch oder auch Sonnenfisch genannt

Ozeaneum, Foundation German Oceanographic Museum

Ozeaneum, Foundation German Oceanographic Museum

The King of the Herring

When fishermen embark on a herring fishing expedition, they sometimes end up with a John Dory in their net. Although it may deploy its dorsal fin – as befitting a king – to become a notched crown, it is definitely not a herring. In fact, this solitary creature enjoys eating herring, often keeping close to schools of them. Its grayish-yellow scales with an eye-catching black dot on its flattened side are very useful in hunting herring. Traveling alone with this majestic costume, herring often mistake it for a sick animal. It is then able to quickly suck in its prey. To do this it extends its jaw forwards and swallows an entire herring at once. If the John Dory accidentally finds its way into a fishing net because of its close proximity to its preferred prey, fishermen rejoice: The John Dory is known for its tasty meat and makes for a profitable quarry because of how difficult it is to catch.

The John Dory, also called a Peter’s fish, is a rarity in aquariums as well. It is difficult to catch them alive and unharmed. If aquarium teams succeed in doing so, they must then find the fish a suitable roommate. The OZEANEUM’s John Dory lives with the spiny lobsters and boarfish in the “Scottish Coastal Cave” tank. According to legend, the black dot on the sides of the animal are the result of an encounter with the Apostle Peter, who pulled a piece of gold from the fish’s mouth, leaving his fingerprint behind on the fish.

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  • Title: Der Heringskönig (Zeus faber) wird auch Petersfisch oder auch Sonnenfisch genannt
  • Location: Ozeaneum Stralsund, Stiftung Deutsches Meeresmuseum
  • Rights: photo: Johannes-Maria Schlorke

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