In this exciting moment from the BBC’s Mission Galápagos, Liz Bonnin joins marine biologist Tierney Thys and MV Alucia submersible pilot Mark ‘Buck’ Taylor in what looks like a Triton 3300/3 submersible. At 82 meters (269 feet) below the water’s surface, they spot a gentle giant: The Mola Mola.
The ocean sunfish or common mola (Mola mola) is the heaviest known bony fish in the world. Adults typically weigh between 247 and 1,000 kg (545–2,205 lb). 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…
Many of the sunfish’s various names allude to its flattened shape. Its specific name, mola, is Latin for “millstone”, which the fish resembles because of its gray color, rough texture, and rounded body. Its common English name, sunfish, refers to the animal’s habit of sunbathing at the surface of the water.
Related reading: The Galápagos Islands.