Species profile

Name: sunfish are a group of large and unusual saltwater fish, there are five species: the ocean, southern, hoodwinker, and slender sunfish, and the sharptail mola.

Appearance: sunfish are strange-looking fish whose bodies come to an end just behind the dorsal and anal fins, giving them a ‘half-fish’ appearance. Their bodies are flattened and their dorsal and ventral fins are long.

Size: they are one of the largest fish in the sea, with the ocean and southern sunfish both reaching up to 4.6 metres long and weighing over 2 tonnes.

Diet: sunfish mainly feed on soft-bodied animals such as jellyfish, although they also take small fish and crustaceans.

Did you know: pretty much everything about a sunfish is strange. They have the fewest vertebrae of any fish (only 16!). Most of their skeleton is made of cartilage and they lack swim bladders. To steer themselves through the ocean they squirt jets of water out of their mouths, and use their fins like wings to propel themselves forward. They make sounds by grinding their teeth, although those same teeth are fused together like a beak making it impossible for them to close their mouths!

Location: they are native to the temperate and tropical waters of every ocean in the world.

Where to see sunfish

According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see sunfish in the following places:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
very low

Photo credit: makabera under a Creative Commons licence from Pixabay

Leave a Reply