Big Heavy Fish

This week, the ocean sunfish, or “mola mola”, is the top animal.

sunfish1Image By: Tonny Watanebe

These guys are amongst the heaviest fish in the world, adults can weigh a metric tonne. That’s a lot of fish. Interestingly enough, they apparently eat jellyfish for the most part. Jellyfish don’t have a lot going on, so to be grow so large the sunfish must need to eat a lot of them.

sunfish2Image By: Fred Hsu

They’re odd looking fish. They’re really flat, they don’t have a proper tail and their fins are massively long. When they’re under the water swimming around, they’re keep themselves upright, but they like to come up to the surface and lay horizontally, probably sunbathing. Despite their large size, I’ve read that they can still jump out of the water and get quite a bit if height. They look like lazy fish, so seeing one jump would be quite a shock, I think.

When they’re born, they’re tiny. Less than a centimetre in length. It’s quite amazing that they can grow from something so small, to something so large. People don’t seem to know how fast they grow, but it seems like, when they’re growing, they can increase to ten times their original size within a year.

Sunfish3Image By: Vanessa Tuttle, NOAA/NMFS/NWFSC/FRAMD/MF

Ocean sunfish can be found in all of the world’s oceans, but like to live in warm water, so they probably aren’t going too deep or too far north or south.

Because of their size, they’re pretty tough fish. Other fish aren’t really out there eating them. The big predators, sharks and seals and stuff, can still get them. Sea Lions supposedly kill them for kicks. Because they come up to the surface to sunbathe they can sometimes be involved in collisions with boats. This hurts the fish and because they are so large, can damage the boat too.

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREImage By: OpenCage

Like an increasing amount lot of fish these days, the Ocean Sunfish is vulnerable because of the fishing industry. In the Pacific Ocean, they are caught and eaten. In several Asian cultures, the sunfish is considered a delicacy. They aren’t really eaten in European cultures, but fishing sill affects them. They easily get caught in dragnets intended for other species. I guess being such a large fish, it’s just a numbers game when it comes to getting caught be a net like that. Unfortunately, even if the sunfish won’t be eaten, the fishermen don’t always get them back into the ocean unharmed.

Sunfish5Image By: Simone Carletti

 

There are so many cool fish out there, under the oceans is a whole world we hardly think or care about. But I think the ocean sunfish gets into the top animal list because of its size and goofy shape. When you hear that they’re three metres tall, you might think that’s not that tall. But really think about it. That’s probably taller than anyone you know. And then to top it off, they’re not normal looking like a whale shark, they’re big flat things with long fins. I just think it’s cool they’re doing their own thing like that.

 

Do you know any cool facts about these guys? Know of any weirder fish? Leave a comment any time.

As always, I’m only scratching the surface of how cool the top animals are. If you want to learn more about these cool fish here are some other website for you to read.

PADI

National Geographic

Two Oceans Aquarium

 

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