Ocean sunfish (Mola mola)

Photo Credit: S.W. Ross and M. Rhode (UNCW)

Description: Ocean sunfish are definitely some of the strangest creatures in the ocean, and that is saying a lot. The average adult ocean sunfish weighs in at an impressive 2,200 pounds, which is more than any other bony fish in the world. Tipping the scale isn’t the only arena where these fish set records- female Mola molas are capable of producing more eggs than any other known vertebrate. Ocean sunfish also exhibit a basking behavior where they lay sideways on the surface of the water to warm themselves up after long deep dives in the cold, dark, depths of the ocean.

Geographic Distribution

Figure 1: Relative probability of occurrence of Ocean sunfish (Mola mola) based on computer generated distribution maps. Data source: Aquamaps

Depth Profile

Figure 2: Approximate depth range of Ocean sunfish (black box). Slope of seafloor is a generalized representation of the Gulf of Mexico shelf and outer continental shelf.