Have you ever heard of an ocean sunfish? I hadn’t, but came across the name when looking for a creature to write about this week. I thought, with such a nice name, it would be a lovely-looking fish – bright and colourful and pleasing to the eye. I appreciate that beauty is in the eye of the beholder ~ and a male ocean sunfish will no doubt find a female ocean sunfish attractive (and vice versa) ~ but I must admit I was somewhat disappointed.
However, what I hadn’t reckoned on what the size of the fish. Again, I was probably seduced by its name, imagining a small, tropical fish. The ocean sunfish is the heaviest-known bony fish in the world. Its adult weight can be as much as 1,000kg. The one in the black & white photograph is from 1910, with an estimated weight of 1,600kg! You wouldn’t be wanting him or her in your tropical aquarium, would you?
Now for a few unusual facts about ocean sunfish. If you want to find out more about the ocean sunfish, there is plenty of information here at this link.
- Its main body is flattened laterally, meaning from face on it would look like a long oval shape
- Their diet is mainly jellyfish and they need to eat a lot of them because jellyfish are not very nutritious
- Females can produce up to 300,000,000 (yes, that’s 300 million) eggs at a time. This is the more than any other known vertebrate
- In Taiwan, Korea and Japan, they are considered a delicacy
- They are for the main, solitary fish
- From being fry (young fish) to an adult, they are capable of growing more than 60 million times their birth size, possibly the most extreme size growth of any vertebrate
- They are docile and pose no threat to human divers
See if you can get full marks in our enjoyable quiz on sea fish!