Sun Fish

Fact File:

Common Name(s):
Sun Fish

Scientific Name:
Mola mola

Usual Size:
2m although may reach 4m

UK Record Weights from rod/line:

49lb 4oz (22kg338g)
Fisherman's Cover, Cornwall. MGH Merry, 1976

108lb (48kg986g) off Saundersfoot,Wales. TS Sisson, 1976

MAFF Minimum Size: Shore: Boat:

Almost circular body profile when viewed side on (ie the vertical longitudinal plane), although compressed in the horizontal longitudinal plane.The head is roughly a third of the total body length, with a small mouth fronted by large fused teeth. A small gill slit is to be found located just in front of the small pectoral fin.The eyes are approximately half way between the mouth and the pectoral fin, although slightly higher than their vertical position.
Both the dorsal and anal fins, are narrow and greatly elongated, to about the same degree. They are set towards the posterior of the body, and fuse at their bases with the greatly diminished tail fin, which appears only to be a thickened posterior fringe. Colouration ranges from a brownish grey/blue, that pales towards the belly.

Very little known about the time or place of spawning (OK, so I've got to do some more research........)

This is really a tropical / subtropical fish of open oceans, normally found in depths of 180 to 360m.

Salps, jellyfish, and comb-jellies, would seem to make up a substantial part of the diet of these fish, with a supplement of crustaceans.

Most often associated with the Western coasts of the UK.  Thought to be brought here by ocean currents, such as the North Atlantic Drift.
Historical records show that it was at one time hunted by Aran Islanders, with the aid of harpoons, which would seem to indicate that this species was more numerous than today.

Many of the recorded sightings of this species(in the UK), are of individuals swimming on their sides, which some believe means that they are either disabled, or dying..... however talking to divers in the USA, esp. Phil Colla, this behaviour is common in healthy individuals, and maybe some form of solar warming, and may also aid with their digestive process....

Additional Notes:

Also see the following

The fish was sighted off the south coast of ALDERNEY, Channel Islands on Friday 29th July 2005.
I was on board charter angling vessel "Alderney Felix"
when the fish was seen swimming on it's side close to the boat (as suggested on your website)
it then "righted" itself close to the boat and we were able to net it with the landing net,
only keeping the Fish long enough to take the attached photo's.
It's weight was estimated by Skipper Stuart Trought as about 8lbs.

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