The two species of Mola, or sunfish, which are known to inhabit the Galapagos are the Mola Mola, also known as the Ocean Sunfish, and the Mola Ramsayi, the southern Sunfish. Sightings of both of these spectacular fish have been regularly reported in the waters around Galapagos, with Mola Ramsayi only being a confirmed visitor to the islands since 2011.
The Sunfish feed on a vast quantity of jellyfish, crustaceans, squid and small fish. This fish needs to take in an enormous amount of food each day in order to maintain its impressive size - adults can be as large as 6ft (1.8m) long and can weigh an astonishing 2,205lb (1000kg)!
Their name comes from the latin 'millstone' and refers to their somewhat rounded body shape. They are unusual as a species as they have an incredibly small tail which is virtually useless. They use their two fins to propel themselves through the water.
They became know as Sunfish because of their frequent visits to the surface of the water where they can be seen relaxing in the equatorial sunshine.
Because of this behaviour you can encounter these magnificent fish all year round, specifically during panga and snorkeling excursions as well as diving at sites like Punta Vicente Roca at Isabela island.
Fast Facts about the Sunfish
- Sunfish around the world vary considerably from Atlantic to Pacific oceans
- Females can release up to 300 million eggs
- Often found on Punta Vicente Roca - a part of 'Ecuador' volcano on the northwest tip of Isabela Island
- Sunfish are the world's heaviest bony fish. They are related to Puffer Fish