Mola mola – the ocean sunfish (moonfish)

The »sunfish« is called »moonfish« in many languages. It is the biggest and heaviest bony fish in the world, weighing up to 2,500 kg and showing off up to 3 m length and 4 m height! It can grow over 100 years old. Its Latin name »mola mola« derives from its shape, which reminds of a »millstone«, but apparently, also the Moon was the force behind the naming:

• »Mondfisch« (German)
• »poisson lune« (French)
• »pez luna« (Spanish)
• »peixe lua« (Portuguese)
• »pesce luna« (Italian)
• »maanvis« (Dutch)
• »рыба-луна« (Russian)

In the English language, the decision was made in favour of the Sun, possibly because of the particular liking of the fish to lie flat on the water’s surface and to drift in the sunlight.

• »ocean sunfish« (English)

Lucky for the sunfish that its flesh does not seem to be very palatable (and potentially contains poisonous substances), hence people do not fish or hunt for it and it is mostly left in peace. This is how the sunfish is able to pioneer through the ocean – just like the Moon does high up in the sky … an impressive expression of creation.

Column: Worth reading, Worth seeing | 1 comment | Leave a comment
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Comments

  • I have been blessed to see a sun fish lie flat on the surface of the sea adrift without a care in the world………it is an amazing sight.

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