Description of the Mola Mola

The sunfish (Mola mola) is a species of bony fish belonging to the Molidae family. It is a marine fish found in temperate and tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean. The sunfish is a very distinctive fish, with a flat and round body that can reach up to 11 feet long and weigh up to 5.000 pounds. It is considered the heaviest bony fish in the world. Their body is laterally compressed, with a dorsal and anal fin that come together to form a sort of rudder. Their mouth is small in relation to their size and their skin is thick and rough, with a texture similar to a cheese grater. Sunfish have a silver or gray coloration on their upper body, while their belly is white. They do not have a tail and swim by flapping their dorsal and anal fins in sync to move through the water. Sunfish are solitary animals, but they are often accompanied by cleaner fish and schools of fish. The diet of the sunfish is mainly composed of jellyfish, fish and crustaceans. They are often seen swimming on the surface and jumping out of the water, which can help get rid of parasites that live on their bodies. Sunfish are considered a vulnerable species due to overfishing, marine pollution and climate change. They are also often accidentally caught in fishing nets, which has contributed to their decline.

When to see them?

Sunfish (Mola mola) can be seen year-round in the waters surrounding the Galapagos Islands, although they are most common during the warmer months of the year, from January to April. The waters of the Galapagos provide an ideal habitat for the sunfish, which can be seen swimming on the surface of the water or floating motionless in plankton-rich areas.

Where to observe them?

There are no specific dive or snorkeling sites to observe the sunfish in Galapagos, as these fish move freely in the surrounding waters. However, sunfish are often seen in areas rich in plankton where they feed, which is the case of the areas around Isabela, Fernandina and Santiago islands. Sunfish are often seen at the surface of the water, where they rest or are cleaned by cleaner fish. They can also be seen on scuba dives or surface dives, where it is possible to see their distinctive body and dorsal fin.

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