Some mola molas are curious Pisces, their weird shape, their lack of tail, their ridiculously small mouth in relation to their body, their way of staying just below the surface… Often evolving at depths below recreational diving (50 to 200 m on average), it is not easy to see them! After having been to Nusa Lembongan to see them (a place very well known for that at Bali), I wanted to know more about this strange fish, find here all the cool info on mola molas !
10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT MOLA MOLAS
- Why do we call them mola mola
- The biggest bony fish
- They lay 300 million eggs per litter
- Baby mola mola
- What do mola molas eat
- 3 species of mola molas
- A new species discovered in 2017
- They are covered with parasites
- Why do they stay on the surface
- They are in danger
1. WHY ARE MOLA MOLA MOON FISHES CALLED?
Where does the name mola mola of moon fish come from?
- Mola Mola "is the scientific name.
- The 1st "mola" is the name of the genus (mole in French) and means in Latin "a millstone"(See photo opposite), in reference to the shape of its round and gray body and its hard texture.
- The 2nd "mola" corresponds to the name of the species.
- In French a "mola mola" is a moon Fish.
- In English it is sunfish, because of his habit to stay on the surface so that seabirds can remove parasites that he has on his skin (see point 9).
2. MOLA MOLA IS THE BIGGEST BONE FISH!
What is the largest bony fish?
- In average they do 2 to 2.5m long but they can measure up to 3m and weigh 2 tons.
- The body of sharks and rays consisting of cartilage, they do not do not find the same categoryso yes, the mola mola is the bigger bony fish!
The biggest mola mola recorded is a female caught in 1996 who weighed 2200 kg (that's the size of a good big rhino!).
To realize the mola mola on the picture below was estimated at 1600 kg!
3. THE MOLA MOLA LAYS 300 MILLION EGGS PER LIST
How eggs lays a mola mola?
- The mola mola is the most fertile of all vertebrates !
- Females can lay up to 300 million eggs per litter !!
- At birth, the babies are as big as a pinhead (1 to 2 mm).
4. MOLA MOLAS BABIES LOOK LIKE ALIENS!
How are mola mola babies at birth?
- If you thought that adult mola molas had a strange shape, babies are even worse !
- They are born with a kind transparent protective star around them (see photo).
- They will be covered with small thorns (a bit like a trunk fish, who is also one of their cousins) that he will lose when he reaches adulthood.
5. WHAT DO MOLA MOLAS EAT?
What do mola molas eat?
- Mainly jellyfish or species of the same type and zooplankton.
- But also squid, crustaceans, very small fish ...
- It is for this reason that do not often see them swimming in the 0-30m zone because they spend a lot of time in depths up to 200m to catch their food.
6. THERE ARE 3 MOLAS SPECIES!
How many mola mola are there?
- The Mola Mola is the biggest, the best known and the one found in almost all warm and temperate waters.
- But there is also the Mola "Ramsayi", the fish moon of the southern oceans, found below the equator in the waters of Australia, New Zealand, Chile and South Africa.
- And the the last species discovered in 2017! The Mola "Tecta"(hooddwinker in English).
7. A NEW SPECIES OF MOLA DISCOVERED IN 2017 !!
What is the new mola mola species discovered in 2017?
- After years of research, scientists have finally found and proved in 2017 that a 3rd species of Mola exists !
- The Mola tecta or Sunfish hoodwinker in English.
This species is a little different from the other 2:
- On average smaller : from 50 cm to 2.5m.
- Physically a little different, she only presents no bumps and their fins do not quite have the same shapes.
- Their presence area is still a bit of a mysterybut for the moment they have been found in the cold waters south of Australia, New Zealand, Chile and South Africa.
8. MOLA MOLAS ARE COVERED WITH PESTS!
Why are mola molas covered in parasites?
- The molas are covered with parasites!
- Beyond their natural predators (sea lion, orcas, sharks) it's one of their main problem!
- Scientists have identified about one fifty species on and even inside mola molas!
9. WHY DO MOLA MOLAS STAY ON THE SURFACE?
Why do mola mola come to the surface?
For 2 reasons:
- Being covered with pests (see point above), the Molas go up and put themselves just below the surface for the seabirds (seagulls, albatross ...) get rid of their parasites!! (see 2.05 of the video below).
- Their food is in deep water, and therefore often cold, stay just below the surface allows them to warm up their bodies (hence their name "sunfish" in English).
10. MOLA MOLAS ARE AT RISK
Are the mola mola in danger?
- The mola molas are not fished for their food or for their fin (unlike sharks for example).
- As they often go back to the surface (to get rid of their parasites) and given their imposing size, they are often against take in the fishing nets.
- Because of this reality, some areas lost 80% of their population…
Ex: Scientists estimate that 340 000 mola molas are mistakenly caught each year in South Africa.
VIDEOS MOLA MOLA
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