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Mola mola (Linnaeus, 1758)
OCEAN SUNFISH
Short Sunfish; Mola aculeata Koelreuter, 1766; Tetraodon mola Linnaeus, 1758

Life   Vertebrata   Fish   Molidae   Mola

Mola mola
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Mola mola

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Overview
Main identification features
  • oval, length~height
  • dorsal and anal finsvery high, short bases
  • tail fin very short, no central point
Oval, height ~60% length; very compressed; mouth tiny, a horizontal slit when closed; hump above mouth; skin thick, tough, with small denticles; dorsal and anal fins long, curved, with short bases; pectorals short, rounded; tail with undulating rounded profile, no extension; dorsal 17-18 rays; anal 14-18 rays; pectoral 12-13 rays.

Grey brown to dark blue above, silvery below, fins dark

Size: 332 cm.

Habitat: oceanic.

Depth near surface, 0-644 m.

Circumglobal, tropical to warm temperate; potentially throughout our region, except the Gulf of California.


Attributes
Abundance: Common.
Cites: Not listed.
Climate Zone: North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California); Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap); Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos); Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo); South Temperate (Peruvian Province ).
Depth Range Max: 644 m.
Depth Range Min: 0 m.
Diet: Pelagic crustacea; pelagic fish larvae; pelagic jellyfish/ctenophores; zooplankton; bony fishes; octopus/squid/cuttlefish.
Eastern Pacific Range: Northern limit=50; Southern limit=-30; Western limit=-126; Eastern limit=-70; Latitudinal range=80; Longitudinal range=56.
Egg Type: Pelagic; Pelagic larva.
Feeding Group: Planktivore.
FishBase Habitat: Pelagic.
Global Endemism: Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans); East Pacific + Atlantic (East +/or West); Transisthmian (East Pacific + Atlantic of Central America); East Pacific + all Atlantic (East+West); TEP non-endemic; "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific); All species.
Habitat: Water column.
Inshore Offshore: Offshore; Offshore Only.
IUCN Red List: Not evaluated / Listed.
Length Max: 332 cm.
Regional Endemism: Island (s); Continent; Continent + Island (s); Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic; Eastern Pacific non-endemic; All species.
Residency: Resident.
Salinity: Marine; Marine Only.
Water Column Position: Mid Water; Near Surface; Surface; Water column only;


Names
Scientific source:

Links to other sites

References
  • Briggs, J.C., 1960., Fishes of worldwide (circumtropical) distribution., Copeia, 1960:171-180.
  • Béarez, P., 1996., Lista de los Peces Marinos del Ecuador Continental., Revista de Biologia Tropical, 44:731-741.
  • Castro-Aguirre, J.L. and Balart, E.F., 2002., La ictiofauna de las islas Revillagigedos y sus relaciones zoogeograficas, con comentarios acerca de su origen y evolucion. En: Lozano-Vilano, M. L. (Ed.). Libro Jubilar en Honor al Dr. Salvador Contreras Balderas., Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo León:153-170.
  • Chirichigno, N., 1998., Clave para identificar los peces marinos del Peru., Instituto del Mar del Peru, Informe., 44(2 Ed.):1-387.
  • Eschmeyer , W. N. , Herald , E. S. and Hamman, H., 1983., A field guide to Pacific coast fishes of North America from the Gulf of Alaska to Baja California. Peterson Field Guide Ser. 28., Houghton Mifflin:336pp.
  • Findley, L.T., Hendrickx, M.E., Brusca, R.C., van der Heiden, A.M., Hastings, P.A., Torre, J., 2003., Diversidad de la Macrofauna Marina del Golfo de California, Mexico., CD-ROM versión 1.0. Projecto de la Macrofauna del Golfo .  Derechos reservados de los autores y Conservación Internacional.
  • Fischer , W. , Krup , F. , Schneider , W. , Sommer , C. , Carpenter , K. E. and Niem, V. H., 1995., Guia FAO para la Identificacion de Especies de para los fines de la Pesca. Pacifico Centro-Oriental. Volumen III. Vertebrados - Parte 2., FAO3:1201-1813.
  • Grove , J.S. and Lavenberg, R. J., 1997., The fishes of the Galápagos islands., Stanford University Press:863 pp.
  • Jimenez-Prado, P., Béarez, P., 2004., Peces marinos del Ecuador continental / Marine fishes of continental Ecuador., SIMBIOE/NAZCA/IFEA tomo 1 y 2.
  • Jordan, D.S., 1895., The fishes of Sinaloa., Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences (Series 2), 5:377-514.
  • Linnaeus, C., 1758., Systema Naturae, Ed. X. (Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata.) Holmiae., Systema Nat. ed. 10, 1:1-824.
  • Lopez , M. I. and Bussing, W. A., 1982., Lista provisional de los peces marinos de la Costa Rica., Revista de Biologia Tropical, 30(1):5-26.
  • Love, M.S., Mecklenburg, C.W., Mecklenburg, T.A., Thorsteinson, L.K., 2005., es of the West Coast and Alaska: a checklist of North Pacific and Artic Ocena species from Baja California to the Alaska-Yukon border., U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, 288pp.
  • Van der Heiden , A. M. and Findley, L. T., 1988., Lista de los peces marinos del sur de Sinaloa, México., Anales del Centro de Ciencias del Mar y Limnologia de la Universidad Autonoma Nacional de Mexico, 15:209-224.

Acknowledgements

I thank Ashley MacDonald and John Pickering, University of Georgia, for technical support in building this page.


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