Fun Zenion Facts For Kids

Ayan Banerjee
Jan 31, 2024 By Ayan Banerjee
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Zenion facts include that there are four recognized species of this fish.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.0 Min

The family Zeniontidae is usually recognized by a common name as 'dory' or 'armoreye dories'. The species belong to order, family, genus - Zeiformes, Zeniontidae, Zenion respectively. The elongate dory (Zenion leptolepis) in the genus Zenion is found around a climate zone of bathydemersal, at a depth range of 1,083-2,300 ft (330-701 m). Dories grow to a total length of 6.3 in (16 cm). The Zeniontidae family includes just three genera and seven species of huge, flashy, deep-bodied Zeiformes marine fish. Dories have pelvic fins with six or seven rays and a robust spine. Both the dorsal and anal fins have a spiny ridge at the base, and the body is reddish in color. The fish usually belongs to the marine environment and has a length of not more than 4 in (10.2 cm).

The Zenion fish or dwarf dories are benthic fishes and the distribution of this is seen in the depth range of the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, western Indian Ocean, and south Atlantic parts.

Dories as far as researchers throughout the world specified, usually do not have a taxonomic diversity. Only a few specimens have been found and classification is done as - order, family, genus, species. The armoreye dories classification is usually extinct in the environment but the studies are done with the biological specimens found over mud or sand-mud bottom.

For more relatable content, check out these black dragonfish facts and rockfish facts for kids.

Zenion Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Zenion?

Zenion is a classification of Zeniontid fish (genus) that has been discovered in the fossil record and is known to be extant to date. It belongs to the Zeniontidae family. Its common name is dory.

What class of animal does a Zenion belong to?

Zenions belong to the Actinopterygii family of fish. They belong to order, family, genus of Zeiformes, Zeniontidae, Zenion.

How many Zenions are there in the world?

The Zenions are an extant species of life in the world. While one of the genus species is listed as Least Concern by IUCN Red List, another is Not Evaluated yet.

Where does a Zenion live?

The distribution of Zenions is seen in a depth range of continental slope waters (warm temperate and tropical waters), around South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, and New Zealand, the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans.

What is a Zenion's habitat?

The dory fish usually belongs to the marine environment, inshore only, found at a depth range of about 1,083-2,300 ft (330-701 m). The biological specimens were usually found from mud, sand and gravel, and soft bottom. The distribution of these specimens was widespread along with the offshore and onshore areas.

Who do Zenions live with?

These usually live on their own but during the migration period, they travel in packs.

How long does a Zenion live?

Although no such range is approved by the taxonomic department for this catalog of fishes their lifespans range from a few months to over 100 years.

How do they reproduce?

Most fish reproduce sexually, which requires sperm from the testes and eggs from the ovaries to be mixed together. Although the majority of species have distinct female and male sexes, many species are hermaphrodites, which means they have both testes and ovaries.

Parthenogenesis, when the female egg grows into a new individual without combining with a sperm cell, is a more unusual mode of reproduction known in a few fish species.

Fertilization is absent in the majority of fish species. Female and male species produce many eggs and sperm into the water at the same time. Members of a species will spawn during this time.

Zenion, among the catalog of fishes, is considered as bony fish in the marine world, so they usually reproduce by external fertilization of their eggs or by any other method mentioned above but no such description is reported online due to lack of life sources by the marine biologists.

What is their conservation status?

The overall conservational status is considered to be of Least Concern, but the Zenion though extant are not easily found in today's marine environment. The distribution, classification, and range of these fishes are known from the fossil record and hence are considered extant by the IUCN Red List. The real reason behind its supposed extinction might be habitat loss, population growth, overconsumption, overfishing, and pollution.

Zenion Fun Facts

What does Zenion look like?

The description includes a bony structure, reddish body, and a scaly appearance on the surface. The dwarf dories have huge eyes and pointy mouths, which makes them stand out. They have six or seven rayed pelvic fins and a strong spine (jagged in Zenion). There is a spike-like spine at the end of the dorsal and anal fins.

Zenion are an extant species of animal.

*Please note that this is an image of an oreo fish, a fish from a similar order as the Zenion. If you have an image of a Zenion please let us know at

How cute are they?

This range does not appear as cute but has very large eyes and a protrusible mouth and a reddish body and a scaly appearance on the surface.

How do they communicate?

Fishes communicate in three ways: sonic muscles, near their swim bladder (drumming), striking or rubbing together skeletal components, and altering speed and direction fast while swimming (hydrodynamics). Fishes make the majority of their noises at low frequencies, often less than 1000 Hz.

How big is a Zenion?

The fish are not more than 4 in (10.2 cm) with an approximate length of about 6.1 in (15.6 cm). It is usually four times smaller than a redtail catfish and 10 times shorter than lungfish which falls under the same class of fish.

How fast can a Zenion swim?

Marine Zenions have good swimming capabilities with the derived structure of the swim bladder. No relevant online sources have provided the exact data.

How much does a Zenion weigh?

Their overall weight is 1.3 oz (37 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

No online sources have provided such information on Zenion as they are an extant genus species and studied only through fossil, so the species is unsexed (not identified as male or female).

What would you call a baby Zenion?

Usually, depending on the stage of the fish, a baby fish is called a larva, an alevin, a fry, or a fingerling but no such researchers have suggested the evidence of such a species and hence no such taxonomic naming is given for a baby Zenion.

What do they eat?

These ranges usually have a carnivorous diet so feed on earthworms, sludge worms, water fleas, worms, worm snakes, and feeder fish.

Are they dangerous?

This range of fish is usually not considered dangerous or a threat to human life. The online data from all over the world actually do not show much taxonomic study on these marine fishes.

Would they make a good pet?

These marines have not been seen for a long time and are usually not considered pets.

Did you know...

Zenions are known only through fossil records.

Is Zenion extinct?

Zenion is not completely an extinct species of life. Although all the studies about it have been found from the fossils, researchers still consider them extant.

Zenion fossil

Zenion fossils are considered the only way to study them as they are supposed to be extinct as they are not easily found. But they are still extant and one of the species even has the Least Concern status on IUCN.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our clown triggerfish facts and French angelfish facts for kids pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Zenion coloring pages.

Zenion Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Earthworms and feeder fish

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?

1.3 oz (37 g)

What habitat Do they Live In?

mud sand and soft bottom

Where Do They Live?

around atlantic, south africa, mozambique, Kenya, new zealand

How Long Were They?

6.1 in (15.6 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Zenion hololepis, Zenion leptolepis, Zenion japonicum, Zenion longipinnis

What Do They Look Like?


Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?


What is their Conservation Status?

Zenion hololepis: Least Concern Zenion leptolepis: Not Evaluated
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Written by Ayan Banerjee

Bachelor of Science specializing in Nautical Science

Ayan Banerjee picture

Ayan BanerjeeBachelor of Science specializing in Nautical Science

Thanks to his degree in nautical science from T.S. Chanakya, IMU Navi Mumbai Campus, Ayan excels at producing high-quality content across a range of genres, with a strong foundation in technical writing. Ayan's contributions as an esteemed member of the editorial board of The Indian Cadet magazine and a valued member of the Chanakya Literary Committee showcase his writing skills. In his free time, Ayan stays active through sports such as badminton, table tennis, trekking, and running marathons. His passion for travel and music also inspire his writing, providing valuable insights.

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