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Ocean Sunfish

 
Introduction:
A large, round unusual looking fish with large dorsal fin.
Identification:
Unusual looking fish lacking a caudal fin. Instead it has a clavus, which is formed by extensions of the dorsal and anal fin rays. These take the place of a true tail fin which does not form. The clavus is broadly rounded and has low, rounded projections (called ossicles) which make up the margin.  The teeth in each jaw are fused to form a plate, and the mouth is small in comparison to the body size. Body size up to 330 cm.
Max. Size: 330 cm.
Distribution: Eastern, southern and western Australia
Habitat: Oceanic waters, but occasionally come inshore
Biology:
These fish are often seen at the surface where they may be mistaken for sharks, because of the large dorsal fin. The genus name Mola comes from the Latin word for millstone and refers to the rounded shape of the fish. It feeds on jellyfish, salps, comb jellies and occasionally small crustaceans and fishes. Sunfishes are amazingly fecund fishes. A single adult female can produce up to 300 million tiny buoyant eggs. Fertilization occurs when eggs and sperm are shed into the water. These Sunfish often meet their end by being struck by a ship. In some countries, not Australia, it is a commercial species.
Other Common Names:
Family: Molidae
Genus: Mola
Species: mola