Common name: Dories, Buckler Dories



Members of the family Zeidae are very compressed deep-bodied fishes with large heads, very large protrusible mouths and long fin spines.

Dories have large bony bucklers at the bases of the dorsal and anal fins and along the ventral surface of the abdomen. Species are commmercially important.

Key to the Australian ZEIDAE genera.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Dories, ZEIDAE in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Jun 2024,

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Family Taxonomy

Tyler et al. (2003) restricted the Zeidae to include two genera with five species. Both genera and three described species are known from Australia.

Family Distribution

Dories or buckler dories are benthic on the continental shelf and slope, and trawled commercially to depths of 600 m. One species enters bays and harbours.

Family Description

Zeids are characterised by having large buckler scales along the bases of the dorsal and anal fins, as well as along the ventral midline from the isthmus to the anus. They have an ovoid, laterally compressed body, large, highly protrusible jaws and small to moderate-sized eyes.

Family Size

Maximum length attained is 70 cm.

Family Feeding

Carnivores with highly protrusible jaws used to capture their prey of fishes and crustaceans.

Family Reproduction

The sexes are separate and fertilisation is external.

Family Commercial

They are important food fishes, both in Australia overseas.


Dianne J. Bray


  • Bray, D.J. 1994. Families Zeidae, Oreosomatidae. pp. 416-427 figs 373-381 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.
  • Bray, D.J. 2008. Family Zeidae. pp. 438-440 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.
  • Heemstra, P.C. 1980. A revision of the zeid fishes (Zeiformes : Zeidae) of South Africa. Ichthyological Bulletin of the J.L.B. Smith Institute, Grahamstown 41: 1-18 figs 1-5 pls 1-2
  • Heemstra, P.C. (1999). Families Parazenidae, Macrocyttidae, Zeidae, Grammicolepididae, Caproidae. pp. 2257–2261 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds) The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. FAO Vol. 4 pp. 2069–2790
  • Paxton, J.R., Bray, D.J., Gates, J.E. & Hoese, D.F 2006. Zeidae. pp. 799-800 in Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds). Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3 2178 pp.
  • Tyler, J.C., O'Toole, B. & Winterbottom, R.W. (2003). Phylogeny of the genera and families of zeiform fishes, with comments on their relationships with tetraodontiforms and caproids. Smithson. Contrib. Zool. 618: 1–110