New giant ocean sunfish species discovered

Jul 20, 2017 16:14 IST

Researchers have discovered a new species of giant ocean sunfish, the heaviest type of bony fish that can weigh over two tonnes and grow to three metres long.

The new species, named as the hoodwinker (mola tecta), was discovered by an Australian researcher.

Marianne Nyegaard, from Murdoch University in Perth, found the species while researching sunfish in the Indo-Pacific region as part of her PhD.

New giant ocean sunfish species discovered

Key highlights

The new species has so far been found around New Zealand, around the southeast coast of Australia, off Africa and southern Chile.

The species prefers cold water.

The latin name for the species is Mola tecta from the Latin tectus meaning disguised, because the species has gone undiscovered for so long.

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About ocean sunfish

The ocean sunfish or common mola is the heaviest known bony fish in the world.

Adult ocean sunfish typically weighs between 247 and 1000 kilograms.

The species is native to tropical and temperate waters around the globe.

It resembles a fish head with a tail, and its main body is flattened laterally.

Sunfish can be as tall as they are long when their dorsal and ventral fins are extended.

Sunfish live on a diet consisting mainly of jellyfish, but because this diet is nutritionally poor, they consume large amounts to develop and maintain their great bulk.

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