Ocean Sunfish Pt II
In the whole wide world there is a veritable cornucopia of creatures that we at The Proceedings would like to draw your attention to, and so it is quite the rarity that we will talk twice about one. The rather comely ocean sunfish, or mola mola, is one such beast we are rather happy to making an exception for.
Photo by coda – http://flic.kr/p/sutpx
On that previous occasion we talked about how many things that we call ‘fish’ aren’t in fact related. Indeed it has come to our attention that one eminent biologist, after spending his whole life studying them was asked “what are fish?” to which he could only reply “they don’t exist”. Thankfully he hadn’t lost his marbles, he was simply quipping that creatures such as the hagfish, sharks and bony fish are so separated in their evolutionary past that they shouldn’t really share a name. Indeed this is the case for a number of groups of living things… but time doesn’t permit us to dribble on about that now.
As we said previously the ocean sunfish is the heaviest bony fish in the sea, what is less obvious is that it is perhaps the most fecund laying 300 million eggs at a time. Apparently this is more than any other vertebrate… that said we can’t think of an invertebrate who could take the time out to bob out so many wee ones either.
Photo by Dan Hershman – http://flic.kr/p/2yhCDy
Each of these 2.5mm long mola mola fry has the ability to grow into one of these huge fishes, the heaviest found so far being about 2,300 kilos. To put that into perspective if this was a human baby it would grow to something like the weight of six Titanics… and would most likely find itself short of volunteers when it came to changing its nappy.
Of course if each of these miniscule fry grew up to be an adult we’d find ourselves in quite a bind, there’d be sunfish every bloody where. Indeed within three generations the amount of ocean sunfish would easily outweigh our whole wide world.