Ocean sunfish

Ocean sunfish
CITES Appendix II (CITES)[3]
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Tetraodontiformes
Family: Molidae
Genus: Mola
M. mola
Binomial name
Mola mola

Orthragoriscus elegans Ranzani, 1839

The ocean sunfish or common mola (Mola mola) is one of the largest bony fish in the world. It was misidentified as the heaviest bony fish, which was actually a different species, Mola alexandrini.[4] Adults typically weigh between 247 and 1,000 kg (545 and 2,205 lb). The species is native to tropical and temperate waters around the world. 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.

Sunfish are generalist predators that consume largely small fish, fish larvae, squid, and crustaceans. Sea jellies and salps, once thought to be the primary prey of sunfish, make up only 15% of a sunfish's diet. Females of the species can produce more eggs than any other known vertebrate,[5] up to 300,000,000 at a time.[6] Sunfish fry resemble miniature pufferfish, with large pectoral fins, a tail fin, and body spines uncharacteristic of adult sunfish.

Adult sunfish are vulnerable to few natural predators, but sea lions, killer whales, and sharks will consume them. Sunfish are considered a delicacy in some parts of the world, including Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. In the European Union, regulations ban the sale of fish and fishery products derived from the family Molidae.[7] Sunfish are frequently caught in gillnets.

A member of the order Tetraodontiformes, which also includes pufferfish, porcupinefish, and filefish, the sunfish shares many traits common to members of this order. The ocean sunfish, Mola mola, is the type species of the genus.

  1. ^ Liu, J.; Zapfe, G.; Shao, K.-T.; Leis, J.L.; Matsuura, K.; Hardy, G.; Liu, M.; Robertson, R. & Tyler, J. (2015). "'Mola mola'". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2015: e.T190422A97667070. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T190422A1951231.en.
  2. ^ Kyodo (19 November 2015). "IUCN Red List of threatened species includes ocean sunfish". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2015-11-29.
  3. ^ "Appendices | CITES". cites.org. Retrieved 2022-01-14.
  4. ^ "World's heaviest bony fish identified and correctly named".
  5. ^ Cite error: The named reference McClain was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  6. ^ Freedman, Jonathan A.; Noakes, David L.G. (2002). "Why are there no really big bony fishes? A point-of-view on maximum body size in teleosts and elasmobranchs". Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries. 12 (4): 403–416. doi:10.1023/a:1025365210414. S2CID 36649270.
  7. ^ "Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 laying down specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin". Eur-lex.europa.eu. Retrieved 2010-11-16.

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