World's Heaviest Bony Fish Spotted Off UK Coast
An ocean sunfish has been spotted off Portland Harbour, Dorset, UK.
The unusual creature is the world's heaviest bony fish - excluding sharks - and can be found in waters around the UK, particularly the south of England, during the summer time.
The creature was snapped by Liz Hemsley, who spotted it basking in the sun just below the surface of the water - a habit which they're known for, hence the name.
Wow! An Ocean Sunfish (or Mola Mola) spotted off #Portland Harbour yesterday afternoon. #Sunfish are the largest bony fish on the planet and visit UK seas during the summer months to eat jellyfish. Have you ever seen one?- Marine Conservation Society (@mcsuk) June 15, 2020
Thanks to Liz Hemsley for sending us the picture :camera_with_flash: pic.twitter.com/HunVjlLpXO
The fish, otherwise known as a mola mola, can weigh up to 5,000lbs and grow to be 10ft long.
As well as being bloody massive, they're also pretty weird looking - kind of like a giant fish head with fins and a tail, but no body.
The species is native to tropical waters but can be found all over the place, and is being spotted around the UK with increasing frequency, which may be owed to climate change.
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According to the British Sea Fishing website: "As the unusual appearance of the sunfish suggests this species originates in tropical seas around the equator, but it appears to be getting more common around the south of England in the summer months, something many people put down to global warming and climate change.
"However, it is worth noting that sunfish have been caught - very occasionally - for decades with the shore caught record of 49lb 4oz (a mere baby by sunfish standards) standing since 1976, and sunfish have been reported all around the UK, not just in the south."
To maintain its massiveness, the ocean sunfish feeds on basically whatever it can gets its beak around, including small fish, larvae, squid, crustaceans and jellyfish.
Like most marine life, the greatest threat to them is plastic pollution and litter. They are not commercially fished in Europe - in fact it's banned in the EU - however, they are considered a delicacy in parts of Asia, such as Japan, China and Taiwan.
Featured Image Credit: Marine Conservation Society/Liz Hemsley