Species: Mola mola (Linnaeus, 1758) - ocean sunfish
The ocean sunfish goes by many appellations (nicknames) such as poisson-lune moon fish (French), pez cabeza head fish (Peru-Spanish), 개복치 open (Korean) and many more. Mola mola is the heaviest bony fish in existence; (the heaviest fish is the whale shark, but that is a cartilaginous fish). A female has been reported to have been carrying 300 million eggs, which is more eggs than any other vertebrate carries in a single instance (Tortonese, 1986).
Tips for Identifying: First the BAM then the FAD.
Laterally compressed and heavy.
Weighs up to 2.3 t or 2,300 kg (~5,200 lb) (Roach, 2003); normally 250 - 1,000 kg (500 - 2,200 lb)
Length up to 3.33 m (~11 ft) (Roach, 2003)
A giant fish head with tall fins and an oddly shaped tail. Pale coloring, usually brown to silvery to white with blotchy markings, if any, and often a shimmery opalescence appearance. The common mola has sandpaper-like skin covered in a thick, protective mucus layer (Thys, 2016).
Terminal and small relative to body. Jellyfish are abundant in a molas diet.
Most locomotion comes from the tall anal and dorsal fins while the pectoral fins are extremely small. The unique rudder-like tail is called a clavus, a gephyrocercal type tail, where the posterior end of the vertebral column is lost, including the hypural plates, and a hardening bridge (the clavus) forms between the anal and dorsal fins; this fused feature, among others, has molids considered to be among the most advanced teleosts (Helfman, 2009).
Marine; pelagic (open-ocean), worldwide except near the poles.
Tranquil; often timid but have become accustomed to divers in certain locals.