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Encyclopedia > Ocean Sunfish
Ocean sunfish

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Tetraodontiformes
Family: Molidae
Genus: Mola
Species: M. mola
Binomial name
Mola mola
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The ocean sunfish, Mola mola, or common mola, is the heaviest known bony fish in the world. It has an average weight of 1 tonne (2,200 lbs). The species is native to tropical and temperate waters around the globe. It resembles a fish head without a tail, and its main body is flattened laterally. Sunfish can be as tall as they are long when their dorsal and ventral fins are extended. Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... Scientific classification redirects here. ... For other uses, see Animal (disambiguation). ... Typical Classes See below Chordates (phylum Chordata) are a group of animals that includes the vertebrates, together with several closely related invertebrates. ... Orders See text The Actinopterygii are the ray-finned fish. ... Families Balistidae - Triggerfishes Diodontidae - Porcupinefishes Molidae Monacanthidae - Filefishes Ostraciidae - Boxfishes Tetraodontidae - Pufferfishes Triacanthidae - Triplespines Triacanthodidae - Spikefishes Triodontidae - Three-toothed puffer The Tetraodontiformes are an order of highly derived ray-finned fish, also called the Plectognathi. ... Genera Masturus Mola Ranzania Molidae is the family of the molas or ocean sunfishes, bizarre-looking fish whose bodies come to an end just behind dorsal and anal fins, giving them a half-a-fish appearance. ... Binomial name (Linnaeus, 1758) Mola ramsayi (Giglioli, 1883) Mola is a genus of the family Molidae. ... Latin name redirects here. ... Carl Linnaeus, Latinized as Carolus Linnaeus, also known after his ennoblement as  , (May 13, 1707[1] – January 10, 1778), was a Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist[2] who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of nomenclature. ... Classes Actinopterygii Sarcopterygii Osteichthyes are a taxonomic superclass of fish, also called bony fish that includes the ray-finned fish (Actinopterygii) and lobe finned fish (Sarcopterygii). ... Tropical fish include fish found in tropical environments around the world, including both fresh water and salt water species. ... For the usage in virology, see temperate (virology). ... Dorsal fin of an orca A dorsal fin is a fin located on the backs of fishes, whales, dolphins, and porpoises, as well as the (extinct) ichthyosaurs. ... Fish anatomy is primarily governed by the physical characteristics of water, which is much denser than air, holds a relatively small amount of dissolved oxygen, and absorbs light more than air does. ...


Sunfish live on a diet that consists mainly of jellyfish. As this diet is nutritionally poor, they consume large amounts in order to develop and maintain their great bulk. Females of the species can produce more eggs than any other known vertebrate. Sunfish fry resemble miniature pufferfish, with large pectoral fins, a tail fin and body spines uncharacteristic of adult sunfish. For other uses, see Jellyfish (disambiguation). ... In most birds and reptiles, an egg (Latin ovum) is the zygote, resulting from fertilization of the ovum. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Frog spawn Spawning is the production or depositing of large quantites of eggs in water. ... Genera Amblyrhynchotes Arothron Auriglobus Canthigaster Carinotetraodon Chelonodon Colomesus Contusus Ephippion Feroxodon Fugu Gastrophysus Javichthys Lagocephalus Liosaccus Marilyna Monotretus Omegaphora Pelagocephalus Polyspina Reicheltia Sphoeroides Takifugu Tetractenos Tetraodon Torquigener Tylerius Xenopterus For species see Genera articles. ...


Adult sunfish are vulnerable to few natural predators, but sea lions, orcas and sharks will consume them. Among humans, sunfish are considered a delicacy in some parts of the world, including Japan, the Korean peninsula and Taiwan, but sale of their flesh is banned in the European Union.[1] Sunfish are frequently, though accidentally, caught in gillnets, and are also vulnerable to harm or death from encounters with floating trash, such as plastic bags. Genera Eumetopias <marquee> Zalophus Otaria Neophoca Phocarctos A resting Sea Lion in Galapagos National Park, Ecuador. ... Binomial name Orcinus orca Linnaeus, 1758 Orca range (in blue) The Orca or Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) is the largest species of the oceanic dolphin family (Delphinidae). ... For other uses, see Shark (disambiguation). ... This article is about the Korean Peninsula. ... Oil painting of gillnetting, The salmon fisher by Eilif Peterssen. ...


A member of the order Tetraodontiformes which includes pufferfish, porcupinefish and filefish, the sunfish shares many traits common to members of this order. It was originally classified as Tetraodon mola under the pufferfish genus, but it has since been given its own genus, Mola, with two species under it. The ocean sunfish, Mola mola, is the type species of the genus. In scientific classification used in biology, the order (Latin: ordo, plural ordines) is a rank between class and family (termed a taxon at that rank). ... Families Balistidae - Triggerfishes Diodontidae - Porcupinefishes Molidae Monacanthidae - Filefishes Ostraciidae - Boxfishes Tetraodontidae - Pufferfishes Triacanthidae - Triplespines Triacanthodidae - Spikefishes Triodontidae - Three-toothed puffer The Tetraodontiformes are an order of highly derived ray-finned fish, also called the Plectognathi. ... Genera Amblyrhynchotes Arothron Auriglobus Canthigaster Carinotetraodon Chelonodon Colomesus Contusus Ephippion Feroxodon Fugu Gastrophysus Javichthys Lagocephalus Liosaccus Marilyna Monotretus Omegaphora Pelagocephalus Polyspina Reicheltia Sphoeroides Takifugu Tetractenos Tetraodon Torquigener Tylerius Xenopterus For species see Genera articles. ... Genera See text for genera and species. ... Genera See text for species Filefish (also known as foolfish, leatherjackets or shingles) are tropical to subtropical tetraodontiform marine fish of the diverse family Monacanthidae. ... Species Tetraodon cutcutia - common pufferfish Tetraodon nigroviridis - redline pufferfish Tetraodon mbu Tetraodon nigroviridis - spotted pufferfish Tetraodon palembangensis Tetraodon is a the largest genus in the pufferfish family (Tetraodontidae). ... Binomial name (Linnaeus, 1758) Mola ramsayi (Giglioli, 1883) Mola is a genus of the family Molidae. ... A type species fixes the name of a genus (or of a taxon in a rank lower than genus). ... For other uses, see Genus (disambiguation). ...

Contents

Naming and taxonomy

Many of the sunfish's various names allude to its unique flattened shape. Its specific name, mola, is Latin for "millstone", which the fish resembles because of its grey color, rough texture, and rounded body. Its common English name, sunfish, refers to the animal's habit of sunbathing at the surface of the water. The Portuguese-, French-, Spanish- and German-language names, respectively peixe lua, poisson lune, pez luna and Mondfisch, mean "moon fish", in reference to its rounded shape. In German, the fish is also known as Schwimmender Kopf, or "swimming head", because it has no true tail. In Taiwan's Hualien County, where sunfish are featured as the official mascot, they are known as the "mambo fish" for their swimming motions. The ocean sunfish has various obsolete binomial synonyms, and was originally classified in a pufferfish genus, as Tetraodon mola.[2][3] It is now placed under its own genus, Mola, with two species under it: Mola mola and Mola ramsayi. The ocean sunfish, Mola mola, is the type species of the genus.[4] Latin name redirects here. ... Species Tetraodon cutcutia - common pufferfish Tetraodon nigroviridis - redline pufferfish Tetraodon mbu Tetraodon nigroviridis - spotted pufferfish Tetraodon palembangensis Tetraodon is a the largest genus in the pufferfish family (Tetraodontidae). ... For other uses, see Genus (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Species (disambiguation). ... A type species fixes the name of a genus (or of a taxon in a rank lower than genus). ...


The Mola genus belongs to the Molidae family. This family comprise 3 genera: Masturus, Mola and Ranzania. The common name "sunfish" without qualifier is used to describe the Molidae marine family as well as the freshwater sunfishes in the family Centrarchidae which are unrelated to Molidae. On the other hand, the name "ocean sunfish" and "mola" refer only to the family Molidae.[5] Genera Masturus Mola Ranzania Molidae is the family of the molas or ocean sunfishes, bizarre-looking fish whose bodies come to an end just behind dorsal and anal fins, giving them a half-a-fish appearance. ... The hierarchy of scientific classification In biological classification, family (Latin: familia, plural familiae) is a rank, or a taxon in that rank. ... Binomial name (Linnaeus, 1758) Mola ramsayi (Giglioli, 1883) Mola is a genus of the family Molidae. ... Binomial name (Pennant, 1776) The slender sunfish, Ranzania laevis, is a mola or ocean sunfish of the family Molidae, the only member of the genus Ranzania, found globally in tropical and temperate seas. ... Annual mean sea surface salinity for the World Ocean. ... Fresh water redirects here. ... Genera  Acantharchus  Ambloplites  Archoplites  Centrarchus  Enneacanthus  Lepomis  Micropterus  Pomoxis Sunfish range The sunfishes are a family (Centrarchidae) of freshwater ray-finned fish belonging to the order Perciformes. ...


The Molidae family belongs to the order Tetraodontiformes, which includes pufferfish, porcupinefish and filefish. It shares many traits common to members of this order, including the four fused teeth that form the characteristic beak and give the order its name (tetra=four, odous=tooth, and forma=shape). Indeed, sunfish larvae resemble spiky pufferfish more than they resemble adult molas.[6] In scientific classification used in biology, the order (Latin: ordo, plural ordines) is a rank between class and family (termed a taxon at that rank). ... Families Balistidae - Triggerfishes Diodontidae - Porcupinefishes Molidae Monacanthidae - Filefishes Ostraciidae - Boxfishes Tetraodontidae - Pufferfishes Triacanthidae - Triplespines Triacanthodidae - Spikefishes Triodontidae - Three-toothed puffer The Tetraodontiformes are an order of highly derived ray-finned fish, also called the Plectognathi. ... Genera Amblyrhynchotes Arothron Auriglobus Canthigaster Carinotetraodon Chelonodon Colomesus Contusus Ephippion Feroxodon Fugu Gastrophysus Javichthys Lagocephalus Liosaccus Marilyna Monotretus Omegaphora Pelagocephalus Polyspina Reicheltia Sphoeroides Takifugu Tetractenos Tetraodon Torquigener Tylerius Xenopterus For species see Genera articles. ... Genera See text for genera and species. ... Genera See text for species Filefish (also known as foolfish, leatherjackets or shingles) are tropical to subtropical tetraodontiform marine fish of the diverse family Monacanthidae. ...


Description

A sunfish caught in 1910, with an estimated weight of 3,500 pounds (1,600 kg)
A sunfish caught in 1910, with an estimated weight of 3,500 pounds (1,600 kg)

The ocean sunfish resembles a fish head without a tail. Its caudal fin is replaced by a rounded clavus, creating the body's distinct shape. The main body is flattened laterally, giving it a long oval shape when seen head-on. The pectoral fins are small and fan-shaped. However, the dorsal fin and the anal fin are lengthened, often making the fish as tall as it is long. Specimens up to 3.2 meters (10.5 ft) in height have been recorded.[7] Fish anatomy is primarily governed by the physical characteristics of water, which is much denser than air, holds a relatively small amount of dissolved oxygen, and absorbs light more than air does. ... This article is about the unit of length. ... A foot (plural: feet or foot;[1] symbol or abbreviation: ft or, sometimes, ′ – a prime) is a unit of length, in a number of different systems, including English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. ...


The ocean sunfish has an average length of 1.8 meters (5.9 ft), and an average weight of 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb),[5] although individuals up to 3.3 meters (10.8 ft) in length[7] and weighing up to 2,300 kilograms (5,100 lb)[8] have been observed. This article is about the unit of length. ... A foot (plural: feet or foot;[1] symbol or abbreviation: ft or, sometimes, ′ – a prime) is a unit of length, in a number of different systems, including English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. ... Look up pound in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


The spinal column of M. mola contains fewer vertebrae and is shorter in relation to the body than that of any other fish.[9] The spinal cord of a specimen measuring 2.1 meters (7 ft) in length is under 25 millimeters (1 in) long.[10] Even though sunfish descended from bony ancestors, its skeleton actually contains largely cartilage tissues which is lighter than true bone and allows it to grow to sizes uneconomical for other bony fishes.[9] [10] A diagram of a thoracic vertebra. ... Classes Actinopterygii Sarcopterygii Osteichthyes are a taxonomic superclass of fish, also called bony fish that includes the ray-finned fish (Actinopterygii) and lobe finned fish (Sarcopterygii). ... Cartilage is a type of dense connective tissue. ... This article is about the skeletal organs. ...


The sunfish lacks a swim bladder.[9] Some sources indicate that the internal organs contain a concentrated neurotoxin, tetrodotoxin, like the organs of other poisonous tetraodontiformes,[8] while others dispute this claim.[11] The gas bladder (also fish maw, less accurately swim bladder or air bladder) is an internal organ that contributes to the ability of a fish to control its buoyancy, and thus to stay at the current water depth, ascend, or descend without having to waste energy in swimming. ... A neurotoxin is a toxin that acts specifically on nerve cells – neurons – usually by interacting with membrane proteins such as ion channels. ... Tetrodotoxin (anhydrotetrodotoxin 4-epitetrodotoxin, tetrodonic acid, TTX) is a potent neurotoxin with no known antidote, which blocks action potentials in nerves by binding to the pores of the voltage-gated, fast sodium channels in nerve cell membranes. ...


Fins

The dorsal fin of a sunfish, sometimes mistaken for that of a shark
The dorsal fin of a sunfish, sometimes mistaken for that of a shark

In the course of its evolution, the caudal fin (tail) of the sunfish disappeared, to be replaced by a lumpy pseudo-tail, the clavus. This structure is formed by the convergence of the dorsal and anal fins.[12][13] The smooth-denticled clavus retains twelve fin rays,[14] and terminates in a number of rounded ossicles.[15] Without a true tail to provide thrust for forward motion and equipped with only small pectoral fins, Mola mola relies on its long, thin dorsal and anal fins for propulsion, driving itself forward by moving these fins from side to side.[10] Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Dorsal fin of an orca A dorsal fin is a fin located on the backs of fishes, whales, dolphins, and porpoises, as well as the (extinct) ichthyosaurs. ... Fish anatomy is primarily governed by the physical characteristics of water, which is much denser than air, holds a relatively small amount of dissolved oxygen, and absorbs light more than air does. ...


Ocean sunfish often swim near the surface, and their protruding dorsal fins are sometimes mistaken for those of sharks.[16] However, it is possible to distinguish a shark from a sunfish, by observing the trajectory made by the dorsal fin on the surface, while the fish itself moves underwater and remains unseen. Sharks, like most fish, swim by waving the tail sideways while keeping the dorsal fin moving in a straight line. The sunfish, on the other hand, swings its dorsal fin and anal fin in its characteristic sculling motion. Thus, the sideways movement of the dorsal fin on the surface can be used to identify the sunfish.[17] For other uses, see Shark (disambiguation). ...


Skin

M. mola in typical swimming position
M. mola in typical swimming position

Adult sunfish range from brown to silvery-gray or white, with a variety of mottled skin patterns; some of these patterns may be region-specific.[5] Coloration is often darker on the dorsal surface, fading to a lighter shade ventrally as a form of counter-shading camouflage. Mola mola also exhibits the ability to vary skin coloration from light to dark, especially when under attack.[5] The skin, which contains large amounts of reticulated collagen, can be up to 3 inches (7.6 cm) thick on the ventral surface, and is covered by denticles and a layer of mucus instead of scales. The skin on the clavus is smoother than that on the body, where it can be as rough as sandpaper.[9] Photo of ocean sunfish (Mola mola). ... Photo of ocean sunfish (Mola mola). ... Mucus cells. ... In this SEM image of a butterfly wing the scales are clearly visible, and the tiny platelets on each individual scale are just barely visible in the striping. ...


More than 40 species of parasites may reside on the skin and internally, motivating the fish to seek relief in a number of ways.[5] [14] In temperate regions, drifting kelp fields harbor cleaner wrasses and other fish which remove parasites from the skin of visiting sunfish. In the tropics, the mola will solicit cleaner help from reef fishes. By basking on its side at the surface, the sunfish also allows seabirds to feed on parasites from their skin. Sunfish have been reported to breach more than ten feet above the surface, possibly as another effort to dislodge parasites on the body.[16][18] A parasite is an organism that spends a significant portion of its life in or on the living tissue of a host organism and which causes harm to the host without immediately killing it. ... The cleaner wrasses Labroides dimidiatus removing dead skin and external parasites from the grouper Epinephelus tukula. ...


Range and behavior

M. mola exhibiting its characteristic horizontal basking behavior
M. mola exhibiting its characteristic horizontal basking behavior

Ocean sunfish are native to the temperate and tropical waters of every ocean in the world.[9] Mola genotypes appear to vary widely between the Atlantic and Pacific, but genetic differences between individuals in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres are minimal.[19] Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... For the usage in virology, see temperate (virology). ... Tropical fish include fish found in tropical environments around the world, including both fresh water and salt water species. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Atlantic and North Atlantic redirect here. ... Pacific redirects here. ... Northern hemisphere highlighted in yellow. ... southern hemisphere highlighted in yellow (Antarctica not depicted). ...


Sunfish are pelagic and swim at depths of up to 600 meters (2,000 ft). Contrary to the general perception that sunfish spend much of their time basking at the surface, research suggests that adult M. mola actually spend a large portion of their lives submerged at depths greater than 200 meters (700 ft), occupying both the epipelagic and mesopelagic zones.[20] The pelagic zone is the part of the open sea or ocean comprising the water column, i. ... The pelagic zone is the part of the open sea or ocean comprising the water column, i. ... The pelagic zone is the part of the open sea or ocean comprising the water column, i. ...


They usually stay in water warmer than 10 °C (50 °F).[20] In fact, prolonged periods spent in water at temperatures of 12 °C (53 °F) or lower can lead to disorientation and eventual death.[17] Researchers theorize that the basking behavior at the surface, in which the sunfish swims on its side presenting its largest profile to the sun, may be a method of "thermally recharging" following dives into deeper, colder water. [21] [19] Others point to sightings of the fish in colder waters such as those southwest of England outside of its usual habitat as evidence of increasing marine temperatures.[22] For other uses, see Celsius (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Fahrenheit (disambiguation). ...


Sunfish are usually found alone, but occasionally in pairs or in large groups while being cleaned.[9] They swim primarily in open waters, but are sometimes seen near kelp beds taking advantage of resident populations of smaller fish which remove ectoparasites from their skin. Because sunfish must consume a large volume of prey, their presence in a given area may be used as an indicator of nutrient-rich waters where endangered species may be found.[9] A parasite is an organism that lives in or on the living tissue of a host organism at the expense of that host. ...


Feeding

The diet of the ocean sunfish consists primarily of various jellyfish (similar to the diet of a leatherback turtle). Additionally, it consumes salps, comb jellies, zooplankton, squid, crustaceans, small fishes, fish larvae, and eel grass.[10] This diet is nutritionally poor, forcing the sunfish to consume large amount of food to maintain its size.[17] The range of food items found inside sunfish indicates that the sunfish feeds at many levels, from the surface to deep water, and occasionally down to the seafloor in some areas.[5] For other uses, see Jellyfish (disambiguation). ... Binomial name (Vandelli, 1761) The leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is the largest of all living turtles. ... A salp is a barrel-shaped, free-floating tunicate that moves by pumping water through its gelatinous bodies by means of contraction, and strains the water, feeding on phytoplankton. ... Classes Tentaculata Nuda Ctenophores are jellyfish-like animals commonly called comb jellies, sea gooseberries, sea walnuts, or Venus girdles. ... Photomontage of plankton organisms Plankton is the aggregate community of weakly swimming but mostly drifting small organisms that inhabit the water column of the ocean, seas, and bodies of freshwater. ... For other uses, see Squid (disambiguation). ... For the Dutch band, see Crustacean (band). ... Species Zostera japonica Zostera marina Zostera is a genus small genus of widely distributed aquatic grass, it is commonly called eelgrass. ...


The sunfish can spit out and pull in water through its small mouth to tear apart soft-bodied prey.[10] Its teeth are fused into a beak-like structure, allowing it to break up harder organisms.[8] In addition, pharyngeal teeth located in the throat grind food into smaller pieces before passing them to the stomach.[10]


Life cycle

A sunfish fry, which still possesses spines that will later disappear
A sunfish fry, which still possesses spines that will later disappear

Ocean sunfish may live up to ten years in captivity, but their lifespan in a natural habitat has not yet been determined.[16] Their growth rate is also indeterminate. However, it is known that a young specimen at the Monterey Bay Aquarium increased in weight from 26 kg (57 lb) to 399 kg (880 lb) and reached a height of nearly 1.8 m (6 ft) in fifteen months.[17] Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... The Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is located in a former sardine cannery on Cannery Row in Monterey, California, is one of the largest and most respected aquariums in the world. ...


The sheer size and thick skin of an adult of the species deters many smaller predators, but younger individuals are vulnerable to predation by bluefin tuna and mahi mahi. Adults are consumed by sea lions, orcas and sharks.[9] Sea lions appear to hunt sunfish for sport, tearing the fins off, tossing the body around, and then simply abandoning the still-living but helpless fish to die on the seafloor.[5][17] Bluefin tuna may mean any of several species of tuna: Northern Bluefin Tuna Thunnus thynnus Southern Bluefin Tuna Thunnus maccoyii Pacific Bluefin Tuna Thunnus orientalis This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Binomial name Coryphaena hippurus Linnaeus, 1758 The Mahi-mahi, Coryphaena hippurus, also known as dolphin, dolphin-fish, dorado or lampuka (in Maltese) are surface-dwelling ray-finned fish found in off-shore tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. ... Genera Eumetopias <marquee> Zalophus Otaria Neophoca Phocarctos A resting Sea Lion in Galapagos National Park, Ecuador. ... Binomial name Orcinus orca Linnaeus, 1758 Orca range (in blue) The Orca or Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) is the largest species of the oceanic dolphin family (Delphinidae). ... For other uses, see Shark (disambiguation). ...


The mating practices of the ocean sunfish are poorly understood, but spawning areas have been suggested in North Atlantic, South Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific, and Indian Oceans.[9] Females can produce as many as 300 million eggs at a time, more than any other known vertebrate.[5] Sunfish eggs are released into the water and externally fertilized by sperm.[23] Frog spawn Spawning is the production or depositing of large quantites of eggs in water. ...


Newly-hatched sunfish larvae are only 2.5 mm (one-tenth of an inch) long. They grow to become fry, and those which survive grow many millions of times their original size before reaching adult proportions.[10] Sunfish fry, with large pectoral fins, a tail fin and body spines uncharacteristic of adult sunfish, resemble miniature pufferfish, their close relatives.[23][24] Young sunfish school for protection, but this behavior is abandoned as they grow.[25] Frog spawn Spawning is the production or depositing of large quantites of eggs in water. ... Genera Amblyrhynchotes Arothron Auriglobus Canthigaster Carinotetraodon Chelonodon Colomesus Contusus Ephippion Feroxodon Fugu Gastrophysus Javichthys Lagocephalus Liosaccus Marilyna Monotretus Omegaphora Pelagocephalus Polyspina Reicheltia Sphoeroides Takifugu Tetractenos Tetraodon Torquigener Tylerius Xenopterus For species see Genera articles. ...


Human interaction

Despite their size, ocean sunfish are docile, and pose no threat to human divers.[15] Injuries from sunfish are rare, although there is a slight danger from large sunfish leaping out of the water onto boats. According to Cliff Benson of Sea Trust, the only known case of a sunfish killing a person was when it landed on someone and crushed him.[26] Areas where they are commonly found are popular destination for sport dives, and sunfish at some locations have reportedly become familiar with divers.[8] In fact, the fish is more threatening to boaters than swimmers, as its immense size and weight can cause significant damage when struck by watercraft. Collisions with sunfish may cause damage to the hull of a boat,[27] and their bodies can become lodged in the propellers of larger ships.[28]

A dish made with the meat of the ocean sunfish
A dish made with the meat of the ocean sunfish

The flesh of the ocean sunfish is considered a delicacy in some regions, the largest markets being Taiwan and Japan. All parts of the sunfish are used in cuisine, from the fins to the internal organs.[11] Some parts of the fish are used in some areas of traditional medicine.[8] Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File linksMetadata No higher resolution available. ... Fish served with vegetables and herbs. ...


Sunfish are accidentally but frequently caught in drift gillnet fisheries, making up nearly 30% of the total catch of the swordfish fishery employing drift gillnet in California.[10] The by-catch rate is even higher for the Mediterranean swordfish industry, with 71% to 90% of the total catch being sunfish.[11][25] Oil painting of gillnetting, The salmon fisher by Eilif Peterssen. ... In fisheries science, by-catch refers to species caught in a fishery intended to target another species, as well as reproductively-immature juveniles of the target species. ...


The fishery, by-catch and destruction of ocean sunfish are unregulated worldwide. In some areas, the fish are "finned" by fishermen who regard them as worthless bait thieves. This process, in which the fins are cut off, results in the eventual death of the fish, because it can no longer propel itself without its dorsal and anal fins.[29] The species is also threatened by floating trash such as plastic bags which resemble jellyfish, its main diet. Bags can choke and suffocate an individual or fill its stomach to the extent that it starves.[16]


Many areas of sunfish biology remain poorly understood, and various research efforts are underway, including aerial surveys of mola populations,[30] satellite surveillance using pop-off satellite tags,[30][11] genetic analysis of tissue samples,[11] and collection of amateur sighting data.[31] Recent studies indicate a decrease in sunfish populations that may be caused by more frequent bycatch and the increasing popularity of sunfish in human diet.[9]


Sunfish in captivity

A tank at the Monterey Bay Aquarium provides a size comparison between an ocean sunfish and humans
A tank at the Monterey Bay Aquarium provides a size comparison between an ocean sunfish and humans

Sunfish are not widely held in aquarium exhibits, due to the unique and demanding requirements of their care. Some Asian aquariums display them, particularly in Japan.[17] The Kaiyukan Aquarium in Osaka, Japan, is one of few aquariums with mola on display, where it is reportedly as popular an attraction as the larger whale sharks.[32] The Lisbon Oceanarium in Portugal is another aquarium where sunfish are showcased in the main tank.[33] Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (3648x2736, 2021 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Monterey, California Monterey Bay Aquarium Ocean sunfish ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (3648x2736, 2021 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Monterey, California Monterey Bay Aquarium Ocean sunfish ... The Kaiyukan Aquarium Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan (海遊館 Kaiyūkan) is one of the largest aquariums in the world. ... For other uses, see Osaka (disambiguation). ... Binomial name (Smith, 1828) Range of whale shark The whale shark, Rhincodon typus, is a slow filter feeding shark that is the largest living fish species. ... The Oceanarium in the Park of Nations. ...


The first ocean sunfish to be held in an aquarium in the United States arrived at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in August of 1986.[34] Because sunfish had not been kept in captivity on a large scale before, the staff at Monterey Bay were forced to innovate and create their own methods for capture, feeding, and parasite control. By 1998, these issues were overcome, and the aquarium was able to hold a specimen for more than a year, later releasing it after its weight increased by more than fourteen times.[17] Mola mola have since become a permanent feature of the Outer Bay exhibit. [10] Monterey Bay Aquarium's largest sunfish specimen was euthanized on February 14, 2008 after an extended period of poor health. [35] The Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is located in a former sardine cannery on Cannery Row in Monterey, California, is one of the largest and most respected aquariums in the world. ...


As the ocean sunfish is not highly maneuverable, preventing specimens from injuring themselves by rubbing against the walls of a tank is of major concern to aquarists.[32] In a smaller tank, hanging a vinyl curtain has been used as a stopgap measure to convert a cuboid tank to a rounded shape and prevent the fish from scraping against the sides. A more effective solution is simply to provide enough room for the sunfish to swim in wide circles.[17] The tank must also be sufficiently deep to accommodate the vertical height of the sunfish, which can be nearly as tall as it is long, and may reach a height of 3.2 meters (10.5 ft).[7] This article is about the unit of length. ... A foot (plural: feet or foot;[1] symbol or abbreviation: ft or, sometimes, ′ – a prime) is a unit of length, in a number of different systems, including English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. ...


Feeding captive sunfish in a tank with other faster-moving, more aggressive fish can also present a challenge. Eventually, the fish can be taught to feed from the end of a pole or from human hands.[17]


Notes and references

  1. ^ Council Directive 91/493/EEC of 22 July 1991 laying down the health conditions for the production and the placing on the market of fishery products. Official Journal of the European Union. Retrieved on 2007-05-29.
  2. ^ "Mola". FishBase. Ed. Ranier Froese and Daniel Pauly. June 2007 version. N.p.: FishBase, 2007.
  3. ^ Parenti, Paolo (September 2003). "Family Molidae Bonaparte 1832: molas or ocean sunfishes" (PDF). Annotated Checklist of Fishes (electronic journal) 18. ISSN 1545-150X. Retrieved on 2007-07-07. 
  4. ^ Bass, L. Anna; Heidi Dewar, Tierney Thys, J. Todd. Streelman and Stephen A. Karl (July 2005). "Evolutionary divergence among lineages of the ocean sunfish family, Molidae (Tetraodontiformes)" (PDF). Marine Biology 148 (2): 405-414. ISSN 0025-3162. Retrieved on 2007-06-26. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Thys, Tierney. Molidae Descriptions and Life History. OceanSunfish.org. Retrieved on 2007-05-08.
  6. ^ Thys, Tierney. Molidae information and research (Evolution). OceanSunfish.org. Retrieved on 2007-06-26.
  7. ^ a b c Juliet Rowan (November 24 2006). Tropical sunfish visitor as big as a car. The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved on 2007-05-08.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Mola mola". FishBase. Ed. Ranier Froese and Daniel Pauly. March 2006 version. N.p.: FishBase, 2006.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Mola mola program - Life History. Large Pelagics Research Lab. Retrieved on 2007-05-11.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i Online Field Guide - Ocean sunfish. Monterey Bay Aquarium. Retrieved on 2007-05-11.
  11. ^ a b c d e Thys, Tierney. Ongoing Research. OceanSunfish.org. Retrieved on 2007-06-11.
  12. ^ Strange tail of the sunfish. The Natural History Museum. Retrieved on 2007-05-11.
  13. ^ Johnson, G. David; Ralf Britz (October 2005). "Leis' Conundrum: Homology of the Clavus of the Ocean Sunfishes. 2. Ontogeny of the Median Fins and Axial Skeleton of Ranzania laevis (Teleostei, Tetraodontiformes, Molidae)" (PDF (fee required)). Journal of Morphology 266 (1): 11-21. ISSN 0362-2525. Retrieved on 2007-06-11. “We thus conclude that the molid clavus is unequivocally formed by modified elements of the dorsal and anal fin and that the caudal fin is lost in molids.” 
  14. ^ a b M. McGrouther (November 2004). Ocean Sunfish Stranding. Australian Museum Online. Retrieved on 2007-05-11.
  15. ^ a b M. McGrouther (February 2007). Ocean sunfish, Mola mola. Australian Museum Online. Retrieved on 2007-05-11.
  16. ^ a b c d Mola (Sunfish). National Geographic. Retrieved on 2007-05-08.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i Powell, David C. [2001] (2001). "21. Pelagic Fishes", A Fascination for Fish: Adventures of an Underwater Pioneer. Berkeley: University of California Press, Monterey Bay Aquarium, pp. 270-275. ISBN 0-520-22366-7. OCLC 44425533. Retrieved on 2007-06-13. 
  18. ^ Thys, Tierney. Molidae information and research. OceanSunfish.org.
  19. ^ a b Thys, Tierney (2003-11-30). Tracking Ocean Sunfish, Mola mola with Pop-Up Satellite Archival Tags in California Waters. OceanSunfish.org. Retrieved on 2007-06-14.
  20. ^ a b Mola mola program - Preliminary results. Large Pelagics Research Lab (January 2006). Retrieved on 2007-04-11.
  21. ^ The Biogeography of Ocean Sunfish (Mola mola). San Francisco State University Department of Geography (Fall 2000). Retrieved on 2008-04-25.
  22. ^ Mark Oliver and agencies (July 25 2006). Warm Cornish waters attract new marine life. Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved on 2007-05-08.
  23. ^ a b M. McGrouther (June 2006). Larval Ocean Sunfish, Mola mola. Australian Museum Online. Retrieved on 2007-05-11.
  24. ^ Fishes of the Gulf of Maine. The Ocean Sunfishes or Headfishes. Fishes of the Gulf of Maine. Retrieved on 2007-06-30.
  25. ^ a b Tierney Thys. (2003, February). Swim with giant sunfish in the open ocean (.swf) [Professional conference]. Monterey, California, United States: Technology Entertainment Design. Retrieved on 2007-05-30.
  26. ^ "Boy struck by giant tropical fish", BBC, 2005-08-28. Retrieved on 2008-04-25. 
  27. ^ Lulham, Amanda. "Giant sunfish alarm crews", The Daily Telegraph, 2006-12-23. Retrieved on 2007-06-12. (English) 
  28. ^ Sunfish. Australian Museum Online. Retrieved on 2007-06-12.
  29. ^ Thys, Tierney. Present Fishery/Conservation. Large Pelagics Lab. Retrieved on 2007-06-13.
  30. ^ a b Current Research. Large Pelagics Research Lab. Retrieved on 2007-06-11.
  31. ^ Have you seen a Mola??. Large Pelagics Research Lab. Retrieved on 2007-06-11.
  32. ^ a b Main Creature in Kaiyukan. Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium. Retrieved on 2007-06-13.
  33. ^ Ocean sunfish at Oceanario. Oceanario. Retrieved on 2007-09-06.
  34. ^ Aquarium Timeline. Monterey Bay Aquarium. Retrieved on 2007-06-11.
  35. ^ Monterey Bay Aquarium Mourns Death Of Giant Sunfish. NBC. Retrieved on 2008-04-24.

Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 149th day of the year (150th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... FishBase is a comprehensive database of information about fish. ... ISSN, or International Standard Serial Number, is the unique eight-digit number applied to a periodical publication including electronic serials. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 188th day of the year (189th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... ISSN, or International Standard Serial Number, is the unique eight-digit number applied to a periodical publication including electronic serials. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 177th day of the year (178th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 128th day of the year (129th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 177th day of the year (178th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 128th day of the year (129th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... FishBase is a comprehensive database of information about fish. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 131st day of the year (132nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 131st day of the year (132nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 162nd day of the year (163rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 131st day of the year (132nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... ISSN, or International Standard Serial Number, is the unique eight-digit number applied to a periodical publication including electronic serials. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 162nd day of the year (163rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 131st day of the year (132nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 131st day of the year (132nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 128th day of the year (129th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) was founded in 1967 and originally named the Ohio College Library Center. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 164th day of the year (165th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 334th day of the year (335th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 165th day of the year (166th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 101st day of the year (102nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2008 (MMVIII) is the current year, a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Anno Domini (or common era), in accordance to the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 115th day of the year (116th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 128th day of the year (129th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 131st day of the year (132nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 181st day of the year (182nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 150th day of the year (151st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 240th day of the year (241st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2008 (MMVIII) is the current year, a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Anno Domini (or common era), in accordance to the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 115th day of the year (116th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 357th day of the year (358th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 163rd day of the year (164th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 163rd day of the year (164th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 164th day of the year (165th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 162nd day of the year (163rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 162nd day of the year (163rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 164th day of the year (165th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 249th day of the year (250th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. ... is the 162nd day of the year (163rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2008 (MMVIII) is the current year, a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Anno Domini (or common era), in accordance to the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 114th day of the year (115th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

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  Results from FactBites:
 
Ocean Sunfish (311 words)
Ocean sunfish are gentle, slow-moving giants residing in tropical or temperate oceans all over the world.
There are sunfish in oceans and there are sunfish in rivers and lakes.
Ocean sunfish have round, flattened bodies in white or dark gray.
Ocean Sunfish - Mola mola (584 words)
Ocean sunfish are found in most of the world's tropical and temperate waters.
Ocean sunfish are the most fertile of saltwater fish, being able to lay up to 300 000 000 eggs at a time.
The ocean sunfish is not related to freshwater sunfish.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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