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Mola mola  (Linnaeus, 1758)

Ocean sunfish
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Mola mola
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Australia country information

Common names: [No common name]
Occurrence: native
Salinity: marine
Abundance: | Ref:
Importance: | Ref:
Aquaculture: | Ref:
Regulations: | Ref:
Uses: no uses
Comments:
National Checklist:
Country Information: httpss://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/geos/as.html
National Fisheries Authority: https://www.csiro.au/
Occurrences: Occurrences Point map
Main Ref: Muus, B. and P. Dahlström, 1978
National Database:

Classification / Names

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Tetraodontiformes (Puffers and filefishes) > Molidae (Molas or Ocean Sunfishes)
Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL

Common names from other countries

Main reference

Size / Weight / Age

Max length : 333 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 26340); max. published weight: 2.3 t (Ref. 47360)

Environment

Marine; pelagic-oceanic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 30 - 480 m (Ref. 86942), usually 30 - 70 m (Ref. 90102)

Climate / Range

Subtropical; 12°C - 25°C (Ref. 37040), preferred 27°C (Ref. 107945); 75°N - 65°S, 180°W - 180°E

Distribution

Warm and temperate zones of all oceans. Eastern Pacific: British Columbia, Canada (Ref. 2850) to Peru and Chile (Ref. 5530). Western Pacific: Japan to Australia (Ref. 86345). Eastern Atlantic: Scandinavia to South Africa (occasionally western Baltic, Mediterranean). Western Atlantic: Newfoundland, Canada (Ref. 7251) to Argentina (Ref. 36453).
Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Introductions

Short description

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 15-18; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 14 - 17. The scaleless body is covered with extremely thick, elastic skin. The caudal fin is replaced by a rudder-like structure called 'clavus'. Dorsal and anal fins very high with short base; in swimming, these fins are flapped synchronously from side to side and can propel the fish at surprisingly good speed. Pectorals small and rounded, directed upward (Ref. 6885). Mouth very small; teeth fused to form a parrot-like beak. Gills 4, a slit behind the last; gill openings reduced to a small hole at the base of the pectoral fins. Gas bladder absent in adults.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Molas are distinguished for their distinct morphological characters which include reduced/fused caudal elements, presence of a clavus in place of the caudal fin, absence of a swim bladder and a degenerate, cartilaginous skeleton (Ref. 86435). Adults are found on slopes adjacent to deep water where they come in for shelter and for seeking cleaner fishes. They are usually shy. However, they may become familiar with divers in some locations (Ref. 48637). Individuals often drift at the surface while lying on its side but can swim actively and are capable of directional movements otherwise (Ref. 86435). They swim upright and close to the surface. The dorsal fin often protrudes above the water. Females are larger than males (Ref. 86435). This species has been filmed in 480 m depth with the help of a camera equipped with baits (Lis Maclaren, pers. comm. 2005). Adults eat fishes, mollusks, zooplankton, jellyfish, crustaceans and brittle stars (Ref. 4925, 5951, 48637). A live colony of the cirripede Lepas anatifera were found attached to the anterior portion of the sunfish's esophagus that was stranded in the south coast of Terceira Island, Azores Archipelago in 2004. This association has apparent advantages for the goose barnacles such as a regular intake of food and protection both from hydrodynamic hazards and from predators: but for the sunfish, it is not clear whether it is neutral, of advantage or causes feeding problems since the attachment may obstruct the sunfish's esophagus (Ref. 55063). The sunfish is registered as the heaviest bony fish and as the one with the most eggs in the Guinness Book of World Records (Ref. 6472). Generally this species is not used as food fish; some people consider it as a delicacy (Ref. 30573). The fish can be utilized fresh and can be broiled (Ref. 9988). Some parts of the fish are used in Chinese medicine (Ref. 12166). Molas may contain the same toxin as puffers and porcupine fish (Ref. 13513). They do not adapt well in captivity (Ref. 12382, 37040). Juveniles are victims of California sea lions in Monterey Bay (Ref. 37040).

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 90363)

  Vulnerable (VU) (A4bd)

Threat to humans

  Poisonous to eat (Ref. 13513)



Human uses

Fisheries: minor commercial

More information

Common names
Synonyms
Metabolism
Predators
Ecotoxicology
Reproduction
Maturity
Spawning
Fecundity
Eggs
Egg development
Age/Size
Growth
Length-weight
Length-length
Length-frequencies
Morphometrics
Morphology
Larvae
Larval dynamics
Recruitment
Abundance
References
Aquaculture
Aquaculture profile
Strains
Genetics
Allele frequencies
Heritability
Diseases
Processing
Mass conversion
Collaborators
Pictures
Stamps, Coins
Sounds
Ciguatera
Speed
Swim. type
Gill area
Otoliths
Brains
Vision

Tools

Special reports

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Internet sources

BHL | BOLDSystems | Check for other websites | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | DiscoverLife | FAO(fisheries: production; publication : search) | GenBank(genome, nucleotide) | GOBASE | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | IGFA World Record | iSpecies | National databases | Public aquariums | PubMed | Scirus | Sea Around Us | SeaLifeBase | Tree of Life | uBio | uBio RSS | Wikipedia(Go, Search) | World Records Freshwater Fishing | Zoological Record | Fishtrace

Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805)
PD50 = 0.8125 many relatives (e.g. carps) 0.5 - 2.0 few relatives (e.g. lungfishes)

Trophic Level (Ref. 69278)
3.7   ±0.47 se; Based on food items.

Resilience (Ref. 69278)
Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (tmax = 8 (in captivity); Fec=300 million (batch fecundity))

Vulnerability (Ref. 59153)
Very high vulnerability (82 of 100)
Price category (Ref. 80766)
Unknown