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Overview

Brief Summary

The Southern Ocean Sunfish or Southern Mola (Mola ramsayi) is one of the two generally recognized Mola species as of 2013, although there it appears likely that one or more cryptic species will be recognized in the near future (Yoshita et al. 2009; Pope et al. 2010 and references therein). Much less is known about this species than is known about Mola mola. For more information, see Mola, Mola mola, and the oceansunfish.org website.

  • Pope, E.C., G.C. Hays, T.M. Thys, et al. 2010. The biology and ecology of the ocean sunfish Mola mola: a review of current knowledge and future research perspectives. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 20: 471-487.
  • Yoshita, Y., Y. Yamanoue, K. Sagara, et al. 2009. Phylogenetic relationship of two Mola sunfishes (Tetraodontiformes: Molidae) occurring around the coast of Japan, with notes on their geographical distribution and morphological characteristics. Ichthyological Research 56: 232-244.
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Distribution

Southwest Pacific: Australia and New Zealand. Southeast Pacific: Chile (Ref. 9068). Southeast Atlantic: South Africa.
  • Heemstra, P.C. 1986 Molidae. p. 907-908. In M.M. Smith and P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths' sea fishes. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. (Ref. 4424)
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Southern Indian and Pacifics.
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Physical Description

Size

Maximum size: 3000 mm TL
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Max. size

300 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 4424))
  • Heemstra, P.C. 1986 Molidae. p. 907-908. In M.M. Smith and P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths' sea fishes. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. (Ref. 4424)
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Diagnostic Description

Clavus supported by about 16 fin rays, of which 12 bear ossicles. Ossicles close together, much broader than spaces between them (Ref 12900).
  • Hutchins, J.B. 2001 Molidae. Molas (ocean sunfishes). p. 3966-3968. In K.E. Carpenter and V. Niem (eds.) FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific. Vol. 6. Bony fishes part 4 (Labridae to Latimeriidae), estuarine crocodiles. FAO, Rome. (Ref. 12900)
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Ecology

Habitat

Environment

pelagic-oceanic; marine
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Conservation

Threats

Not Evaluated
  • IUCN 2006 2006 IUCN red list of threatened species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded July 2006.
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Wikipedia

Mola ramsayi

Mola ramsayi, known commonly as the southern ocean sunfish, southern sunfish, or short sunfish,[3] is a fish belonging to the family Molidae. It is closely related to its cogener, the larger and much wider known Mola mola, and is found in the Southern Hemisphere.[1] It can be found basking on its side occasionally near the surface, which is thought to be used to re-heat themselves after diving in cold water for prey, recharge their oxygen stores, and attract seagulls to free them of parasites.[2]

Mola ramsayi stranded on shallow waters in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria.

Description[edit]

Mola ramsayi has a relatively small mouth and its teeth fused into a parrot-like beak. It can reach up to 3.3 m (11 ft) in length. Their body is flat and round, with large fins that they swish back and forth to propel themselves with as they swim horizontally. Their skin has rough denticles, leathery texture, with brown and gray coloring with pale blotches until death when they turn white.[4] Both mola species have no caudal bones, ribs, and pelvic fins and have fused vertebrae, leaving only their median fins to propel themselves.[5] It can be recognized from the Mola mola by their lesser number of ossicles and lacking the vertical band of denticles at its base.[3]

Distribution[edit]

Mola ramsayi is found in the southwest Pacific, especially around Australia and New Zealand, and the southeast Pacific around Chile. Its range also extends to the southeast Atlantic near South Africa. This species is found in pelagic-oceanic temperate waters.[6]

Diet[edit]

They consume a large amount of jellyfish, as they are in vast amounts despite their low nutritional content, but they will also eat brittle stars, small fish, plankton, algae, salps, and mollusks.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b ramsayi EOL.org
  2. ^ a b c Appeltans, W., Bouchet, P., Boxshall, G.A., Fauchald, K., Gordon, D.P., Hoeksema, B.W., Poore, G.C.B., van Soest, R.W.M., Stöhr, S., Walter, T.C., Costello, M.J. (eds.) (2010) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS)
  3. ^ a b Diane J. Bray, 2011, Short Sunfish, Mola ramsayi, in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Feb 2014, http://www.fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/784
  4. ^ Southern Ocean Sunfish Australianmuseum.net.au
  5. ^ Tierney M. Thys, Jonathan Whitney, Alex Hearn, Kevin C. Weng, Cesar Pen Aherrera , L. Jawad, J. Alfaro-Shigueto, J.C. Mangel and Stephen A. Karl. "First record of the southern ocean sunfish, Mola ramsayi, in the Galapagos Marine Reserve". Marine Biodiversity Records. Marine Biodiversity Records 6: 1–4. doi:10.1017/S1755267213000377. 
  6. ^ Fishbase.org

Further reading[edit]

  • Glover, C.J.M. in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). (1994). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
  • Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. (1986). Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  • Hutchins, B. & M. Thompson. 1983. The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of South-western Australia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 103.
  • Last, P.R., E.O.G. Scott & F.H. Talbot. (1983). Fishes of Tasmania. Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority. Pp. 563.


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