Mostly deep-bodied, highly compressed fishes found in all oceans. Dories have large heads, large highly protrusible mouths and large eyes located near the dorsal profile.
Many species have elongate dorsal-fin spines, often with filamentous tips. The soft fin rays are unbranched. Some have a row of enlarged scales or spiny scutes at the dorsal and anal-fn bases, or along the belly.
Scales are obvious and firmly attached in some, others possess only lateral-line scales; scales are absent in one species. Species range in length from 4 to 90 cm.
Dories are widespread in all oceans, and all species live near the bottom, at depths from 2 to more than 1000 m. Although most species live on the continental slope, often around seamounts, two species enter bays and harbours.
Many species are commercially important throughout their range. Dories are carnivores and feed mostly on other fishes and crustaceans. The early life history of most species is poorly known.
The order comprises 6 families, all found in Australian waters. Most species live on the continental slope, often around seamounts, and several ore commercially important.
The zeiform fossil record dates back to the Upper Cretaceous period. Tyler et al. (2003) made considerable changes to the previously accepted phylogeny and removed the Caproidae from the Zeiformes.
Karrer, C. & John, H-C. 1998. pp. 165–167, in Paxton, J.R. & Eschmeyer, W.N.. ed. Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press.
Nelson, J. S. 2006. Fishes of the World. John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey. 601p.
Tyler, J.C., B. O'Toole & R.W. Winterbottom. 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.