Fun Facts

 Adult molas lack a gas-filled swim bladder, the organ that gives most bony fish exquisite control over buoyancy.

Adult molas lack a gas-filled swim bladder, the organ that gives most bony fish exquisite control over buoyancy.

Adult sunfish are loners. They don't school. It's rare to see more than a couple at a time. 

Size: A mola can grow from a larva one-tenth of an inch long to an adult more than 60 million times its starting weight. That's like a human baby ultimately weighing the equivalent of six Titanics

SkinSnorkelers must wear wetsuits and gloves to protect against the fish’s spiny skin. One researcher compared it to “36 grit sandpaper.”

Speed: Because molas move slowly, scientists first thought that they were adrift in the ocean current. But molas in Southern California have been tracked swimming 26 (16 mi) km in a day, at a top speed of 3.2 km (2 mi) per hour.

Making BabiesFemale molas can carry an estimated 300 million eggs. They are the most fecund fish in the sea.

Eating: To break jellyfish into manageable pieces, molas suck them in and out of their mouths until they're reduced to gelatinous chunks. A mucus-like lining in the digestive tract that keeps them from getting stung.

 
 

That One Internet Video 

Probably the funniest Mola Mola video you'll find is of Michael Bergin of Malden, Massachusetts. He and his friend came across a Mola Mola, then proceeded to melt down. Listen with sound, but cover your young ones' ears. 

 
 

What The World Calls Mola Mola

  • The Japanese call Mola Mola "manbow" (マンボウ)
  • In German, the fish is known as schwimmender kopf or "swimming head" 
  • In Polish, it is named samogłów, meaning "head alone"
  • The Chinese translation of its academic name is fan-che yu (翻車魚), which means "toppled wheel fish"
  • The Dutch-, Portuguese-, French-, Catalan-, Spanish-, Italian-, Russian-, Greek- and German-language names for Mola Mola all mean "Moon fish," in reference to its round shape (Respectively: maanvis, peixe lua, poisson lune, peixl luna, pez luna, pesce luna, рыба луна, φεγγαρόψαρο and mondfisch)
 
 

The Mola Mola Family

Mola mola is actually the scientific name of one type of ocean sunfish.

Molidae describes the family of the molas or ocean sunfishes: the Mola mola, the Ranzania laevis, the Masturus lanceolatus, and the Mola ramsayi.

Its closest relatives are the puffer and triggerfishes.


 

What else should we know?