Rare fish found by angler

John Dory fish
John Dory fish

A BEACH angler discovered a rare John Dory fish trapped in a rockpool following unusually high tides.

The bizarre-looking fish was discovered by keen angler Shane Joy while he was out collecting prawns.

Realising the rarity of his discovery, Shane contacted marine experts at nearby Blue Reef Aquarium.

Chris Ireland, from Blue Reef, said: “It’s incredibly unusual for this particular fish species to be found in a rockpool and it can only be as a result of the recent exceptionally high tides that it got washed ashore.

“For the fish to have survived such a pounding and to be found, relatively unscathed, in a rockpool is little short of miraculous.

“Following a thorough medical check-up in our quarantine area the fish has been given a clean bill of health and is set to go on public display at the weekend.”

The John Dory is a bizarre-looking fish. Despite growing up to 60cm in length the plate-shaped fish is so thin that it virtually disappears when viewed head - or tail-on.

It uses this characteristic to good effect both when avoiding predators and approaching unsuspecting prey.

Once close to its victim, usually small fish such as sand-eels, herring and pilchard, the fish’s bellows-like jaws shoot out to engulf it.

It is thought that the name John Dory originated from the French jaune doré which means ‘golden yellow’ and referred to its colouring.

Its alternative common name, the St Peter’s fish, refers to the two dark marks on each flank which are said to be the fingerprints left by the saint when he took a coin from the fish’s mouth to pay his tax.

The John Dory can be seen all around Britain but the south west is thought to represent the northern extent of its breeding range.