Photo: Linette Grzelak via National Parks South Australia/Facebook

Enormous Sunfish Is Mistaken for a Shipwreck on Australian Beach

by Eben Diskin Mar 21, 2019

Australia is living up to its reputation as the home of strange animals. A rare sunfish, also called Mola mola, washed ashore in South Australia, at the mouth of the Murray River, about 50 miles south of Adelaide.

Linette Grzelak and her partner, Steven Jones, who discovered the animal, told Guardian Australia that they thought it was a piece of shipwreck at first. The peculiar, flat-bodied fish was about six feet long, and according to National Parks South Australia, sunfish are “the world’s largest bony fish and can weigh more than a car.”

Sunfish aren’t usually found in that area, as they typically roam in the open ocean waters where they can feast on jellyfish. Their name itself comes from their habit of basking in the sun for warmth before diving hundreds of feet underwater.

According to Ralph Foster, the fish collection manager at the South Australian Museum, not much is known about the fish. They can, however, do a good deal of damage to passing ships in the event of a collision.

As large as the fish might have appeared, according to Foster this particular sunfish is just average-sized. “They can get nearly twice as big as that,” he said.

Earlier this month, a six-feet-eight-inch sunfish (a Mola tecta this time) washed up on the shores of California.

H/T: The Guardian

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