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Sunfish (MOLA MOLA)

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SUNFISH / MOLA MOLA
AT AT 171.45 378.0 Galway Bay Eire 74 H. Koppe
*SH 8 22.33 49.4 Cornwall England 76 M. Merry

The most common of the ocean sunfishes is the Mola mola. These fish, like all sunfishes, appear as if their bodies have been somehow truncated leaving them little more than a large head equipped with long sweeping fins atop and below. The body is less than twice as long as it is deep.

Mola mola have a rounded tail, gritty sandpapery skin covered with copious amounts of mucus. Typically silvery in color with a slight opalescent sheen, they can exhibit strikingly changeable spotty patterns. They presently hold the record for world’s heaviest bony fish--a 3.1 meter (10 ft) long specimen weighed in at 2235 kg (4927 lbs) (Carwardine, 1995).

The common name "sunfish" is used to describe the marine family, Molidae, as well as the freshwater family, Centrarchidae. The common names "ocean sunfish" and "mola" refer only to the family Molidae and can be applied all three Molidae species

sunfish (MOLA MOLA)

Mola mola eat a variety of foods, the most common prey items being gelatinous zooplankton like jellyfish, Portuguese man-o-war, ctenophores and salps. Squid, sponges, serpent star bits, eel grass, crustaceans, small fishes and deepwater eel larvae have also been found in M. mola guts indicating that they forage both at the surface, among floating weeds, on the seafloor and into deep water (Norman and Fraser, 1949).

The average size of an adult Mola mola is 1.8 m (6ft) from snout tip to the end of the "tail" fin and 2.4 m (7 ft 10 in) between the tips of the dorsal and anal fins. The average weight is up to 1 tonne (2200 lbs).

The largest mola ever recorded was 2235 kg (4,927 lbs). It measured 3.1 m (10 ft) from tip to "tail" fin and 4.26 m (14 ft) from dorsal fin to anal fin tip. This animal was a Mola mola and was struck by a boat off Sydney, New South Wales, Australia in September, 1908 (Carwardine, 1995).

Information supplied by www.oceansunfish.org

 
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