Apparently, a huge discovery happened over the weekend, and as we found out, scientists managed to discover a new species of giant fish, which wasn’t known before and named it Mola tecta. The fish was caught after a four-year search by Australian students, whose previous research showed the possibility of having previously undetected species from the Molidae genus.
Marianne Nygaard, Ph.D. at Murdoch University in Perth, discovered a new species while exploring the genetics of the Ocean sunfish in Indo-Pacific waters. Her research began after she spotted genetic differences in more than 150 samples of Ocean sunfish. Analyses showed that there were four types of Ocean sunfish, while only three were known – Masturus lanceolatus, Mola mola and Mola ramsayi.
“Ocean sunfish are huge, lonely and hidden species, so it’s very difficult to get to them. They are not rare, but they live in the parts of the oceans that people do not usually go to. They dive up to several hundred feet in depth, where they feed, and then they come closer to the surface, to enjoy the sun” says Nygaard. 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. Females of the species can produce more eggs than any other known vertebrate, up to 300,000,000 at a time.
Mola mola or the ordinary Ocean sunfish is the heaviest bony fish in the world. Adults typically weigh between 247 and 1,000 kg (545–2,205 lb) and reach sizes as much as four meters (vertical) by three meters (horizontally). They are specific for one thing, and that is the fact that they look like a fish head with a tail, with its main body flattened laterally. Sunfish can be as tall as they are long when their dorsal and ventral fins are extended.
Ocean sunfish may live up to ten years in captivity, but their lifespan in a natural habitat has not yet been determined. Their growth rate is also undetermined. However, a young specimen at the Monterey Bay Aquarium increased in weight from 26 to 399 kg (57 to 880 lb) and reached a height of nearly 1.8 m (5.9 ft) in 15 months. There is still a lot of unknown about theses fishes but that just means that there will be a lot more research done, so stay close and follow the upcoming posts!