Ocean sunfish, Mola mola, are found in the temperate and tropical regions of the Mediterranean, Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans (Wheeler, 1969; Sims and Southall, 2002; Houghton et al., 2006). They are commonly observed off the coast of Southern California, Indonesia, the British Isles, the Northern and Southern Isles of New Zealand, the southern coasts of Africa, and in the Mediterranean and occasionally in the North Sea (Muus, 1964; Ayling and Cox, 1982; Smith, 1965; Cartamil and Lowe, 2004; Houghton et al., 2006; Sims and Southall, 2002; Konow et al., 2006). Most sightings in the British Isles and North Sea occur during the summer months, particularly June and July, when the waters are between 13 and 17˚C (Sims and Southall, 2002). Ocean sunfish are thought to migrate to higher latitudes during the spring and summer months to pursue their migrating zooplankton prey (Liu et al., 2009).
Biogeographic Regions: indian ocean (Native ); atlantic ocean (Native ); pacific ocean (Native ); mediterranean sea (Native )
- Ayling, T., G. Cox. 1982. Collins Guide to Sea Fishes of New Zealand. Auckland: William Collins Publishers LTD.
- Cartamil, D., C. Lowe. 2004. Diel movement patterns of Ocean Sunfish Mola mola off Southern California. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser., 266: 245-253.
- Houghton, J., T. Doyle, J. Davenport, G. Hays. 2006. The ocean sunfish Mola mola: insights into distribution, abundance and behaviour in the Irish and Celtic Seas. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 86/5: 1237-1243.
- Konow, N., R. Fitzpatrick, A. Barnett. 2006. Adult Emperor Angelfish (Pomecanthus imperator) clean Giant sunfishes (Mola mola) at Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia. Coral Reefs, 25/2: 208.
- Liu, K., M. Lee, S. Joung, Y. Chang. 2009. Age and growth estimates of the sharptail mola, Masturus lanceolatus,in waters of eastern Taiwan. Fisheries Research, 95/2-3: 154-160.
- Muus, B. 1964. . Collins Guide to the Sea Fishes of Britain and North-Western Europe. London: Collins Clear-Type Press.
- Sims, D., E. Southall. 2002. Occurrence of ocean sunfish, Mola mola near fronts in the western English Channel. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK, 82/5: 927-928.
- Smith, J. 1965. The Sea Fishes of Southern Africa. South Africa: Central News Agency, LTD.
- Wheeler, A. 1969. The Fishes of the British Isles and North-West Europe. Michigan: Michigan State University Press.