For the first time, scientists are catching a glimpse of what one of the largest species in the ocean looks like in infancy. For a long time, the larva of Giant Sunfish was relatively obscure to scientists, and anyone who had an interest in them.
The Mola alexandrini, one of three mola species, starts off the size of popcorn and grows to be upwards of 4,000 pounds and nearly 10 feet in length. Located in the waters of Australia, the bump-head sunfish spends most of its life in the depths of the ocean or sunbathing on its surface.
Thanks to scientists in Australia and New Zealand, we’re able to appreciate one of the sea’s largest fish in rare form.
Female Mola can house up to 300 million ova which came as a surprise to scientists that their eggs hadn’t been found in the wild… until now.
credit: Kerryn Parkinson
“This is the first time we have been able to genetically identify a Mola alexandrini larval specimen anywhere in the world,” Dr. Marianne Nyegaard from the Auckland War Museum said.
Fully grown Giant Sunfish
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