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HUGE Ocean Sunfish off the coast of Cornwall

HUGE Ocean Sunfish off the coast of Cornwall

Published by Emma Carton at 9:08am 10th September 2019.

This is the moment a huge Ocean Sunfish was spotted off the coast of west Cornwall.

Photographer Chris Oates spotted the creature near St Ives, along with barrel jellyfish.

It was breaching the water's surface over the weekend.

ocean sunfish 1
This is the moment a huge ocean sunfish was spotted off the Cornish coast. Photo: Chris Oates

"Captured a rare event today - a breaching Ocean Sunfish.

"They suffer from parasites which are normally picked off by birds which accompany the Sunfish as they drift slowly.

"When there are no birds to deal with the parasites they breach to dislodge them".

Chris Oates

ocean sunfish 1
Photographer Chris Oates spotted the creature breaching the surface near St Ives. Photo: Chris Oates

What do we know about Ocean Sunfish?

Measuring up to 4m in length, the Ocean Sunfish is the largest bony fish on the planet.

They can weigh up to 2.3 tonnes and are usually seen between June and September.

They visit UK seas during the summer months to feast on jellyfish.

ocean sunfish 1
Measuring up to 4m in length, the Ocean Sunfish is the largest bony fish on the planet. Photo: Chris Oates

"The Ocean Sunfish is an odd looking fish. It is huge, flat and circular - looking pretty much like a giant swimming head. 

"It has a stiff fringe of skin instead of a tail, two small pectoral fins and an elongated dorsal fin and anal fin that look a bit like wings. 

"Their scientific name of Mola means millstone in Latin - and it's easy to see where it came from! 

"They are often spotted resting on their sides at the surface of the sea, supposedly basking in the sunshine - which is where its English name of Sunfish comes from. 

"It has been suggested that this basking behaviour is to help the Sunfish raise its body temperature after diving down to cooler waters to feed. 

"The fin at the surface can easily be mistaken for a shark, but once up close they are unmistakeable. 

"Sunfish feed on jellyfish and salps - as such they are known as jellivores!"

The Wildlife Trusts

You can read more about the Ocean Sunfish here.

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