Ocean sunfish


The ocean sunfish, or mola, is the heaviest of all bony fish. The name mola comes from the Latin word “millstone” because of its almost circular look when viewed from the side. Doesn’t it look like its tail got chopped off? The largest ocean sunfish recorded weighed almost 5,000 pounds (2,270 kilograms), which is about the weight of a car. It measured over ten feet (3.1 meters) long and fourteen feet (4.2 meters) tall! Even though they can be this large, they normally are a lot smaller – only up to six feet long, which is still big. The mola lays up to 300 million eggs at one time, which is more than any other vertebrate! When the baby fish hatch, they are only 1/10 inch (.25 centimeter) long and weigh 60 million times less than the adults can! When young, they are often preyed on by killer whales, sea lions, and sharks. The main food of an ocean sunfish is jellyfish, although they sometimes eat other stuff. Since these fish are prone to skin parasites, they will often let small fish or birds feed on the annoying pests. They will sometimes jump up to ten feet (3 meters) into the air and land violently in an attempt to shake off the unwanted hitch-hikers as do manta rays for the same reason. Ocean sunfish are quite curious, often approaching divers, which, although they are not dangerous, would be kind of scary because of their size. They are considered stable as far as their population, but frequently get caught in nets or suffocate on plastic bags which resemble jellyfish.

Don’t forget to check out the coloring sheet under the sources.

Here’s the picture of next week’s animal.



Photo credits:

Ocean sunfish – public domain

Mystery animal – Wikipedia user:Glen Fergus

7 Responses

  1. Manta ray | Next Door Zoo
    Manta ray | Next Door Zoo at |

    […] pounds (1,400 kg). Mantas have often been observed jumping completely out of the water (which the ocean sunfish does also). There are many explanations for this behavior, one of which is to dislodge […]

  2. Timothy Stroup
    Timothy Stroup at |

    Cool. I just finished a science test on mammals and enjoyed looking at your sight.

  3. Steve Dwire
    Steve Dwire at |

    Leo, this is a well-written article about a very interesting animal. I’ve heard you’re kid writing these posts. I’m not so sure I believe it. 🙂

  4. Charis Dwire
    Charis Dwire at |

    The kiwi bird?

  5. Kurt Whiteley
    Kurt Whiteley at |

    Nope its a kiwi bird

  6. Kurt Whiteley
    Kurt Whiteley at |

    Im almost positive I am wrong, but, echidna?

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: