The Ocean Sunfish also known as the Mola Mola was roaming through San Diego’s warm waters and swam up to our boat to watch us. Fun fact, this weird looking creature is the world’s boniest fish!
MORE FUN FACTS
The mola’s English common name — ocean sunfish —comes from it’s habit of of basking on the ocean’s surface so seabirds will rip parasites out of its skin.
The average size of the ocean sunfish is about 8.2 feet by 5.9 feet, but they can grow as large as 14 feet by 10 feet.
The heaviest ocean sunfish recorded weighed a whopping 5,071 pounds. For scale, that’s the size of a full-grown white rhinoceros. The mola in the photo above was estimated at measly 3,500 pounds.”
Movement and Diet
The Mola Mola’s are clumsy swimmers, as they steer with their clavus and wag their dorsal and anal fins to move throughout the waters. They feed on jellyfish, though they will eat small fish and huge amounts of zooplankton and algae as well. They are harmless to people, but can be very curious and will often approach divers and boats like ours!
Threats to Survival
“Their population is considered vulnerable. Sunfish frequently get snagged in drift gill nets and can suffocate on sea trash, like plastic bags, which resemble jellyfish.”