Sunfish also called Mola Mola
The Ocean Sunfish, also known as the Mola Mola or common
Mola, is the heaviest bony fish known in the world. They can
reach a weight of two thousand two hundred pounds (nine
hundred ninety eight kilograms). The species is native to
tropical and temperate waters around the world.
The Sunfish is related to the Puffer fish, Filefish and
Porcupine fish. Originally they were classified as tetraodon
mola under the puffer fish genus. There are two species of
Mola now under a different genus.
The Ocean Sunfish is a short fish that literally looks like
a fish head with a tail attached. They are a laterally
flattened fish and the tail can be as long as they are.
The Ocean Sunfish's diet consists primarily of jellyfish. It
consumes great quantities of jellyfish daily because
jellyfish provide few nutrients.
The female Mola Mola can produce more eggs than any other
known vertebrate. The fry of the species resemble a puffer
fish with large pectoral fins. The tail fin and body spines
of the juveniles are lost when they reach maturity.
The only real predators of the Ocean Sunfish are Orcas, Sea
Lions and sharks. Humans also will dine on Mola and they are
considered a delicacy in some countries, but the sale of
Ocean Sunfish flesh is banned in the European Union.
(Find out more about Orca Whales)
The Ocean Sunfish is often seen in popular scuba diving
areas, but despite their great size the Sunfish is very
docile and they are no threat to human divers. The Sunfish
is in fact more threatening to boaters than to individuals
swimming in the water. Collisions with Sunfish have caused
damage to boats. They can also become lodged in the
propellers of large ships.
Injuries to humans by Sunfish are very rare although there
is some danger from Sunfish leaping up onto boats. The only
known case of a person sustaining injury from this was when
a Sunfish leapt onto a boy on a boat. The boy was shaken but
no serious injury occurred. Sunfish are vulnerable to
floating plastics and gillnets in which they can become
Sunfish biology isn't fully understood. Research is underway
to help attain a fuller understanding of their life cycle
and functions. Toward this end, tagging and aerial
photography of populations is done. It has been discovered
recently that due to accidental catching of the fish and
consumption by humans the population has begun to decline.
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