Tofino Wildlife Vol. 14 Ocean Sunfish

Taken by Jeff Tom on WASCO

Typically we spot whales, Stellar sea lions, Sea otters, and sometimes even a Harbour porpoise or two on our whale watching tours. But lately we have had an unexpected guest showing up to surprise our guests aboard our tours. The Ocean Sunfish, also known as the Mola mola, is the heaviest known bony fish in the world. As an adult it can weigh up to 2200lbs! Typically the Sunfish is found in tropical and temperate waters around the world. Sunfish live on a diet that consists of mainly jellyfish, in order to maintain their great bulk the Sunfish must consume large amounts of jellyfish because this diet is nutritionally poor.

A few predators of the Sunfish are the Stellar Sea lions and the Transient Killer whales. Although these creatures may not be appealing to the eye, Sunfish are considered a delicacy in some parts of the world including Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Sunfish spend much of their time basking at the surface of the ocean, but researchers suggest that an adult Sunfish actually spend a large portion of their lives submerged at depths greater than 660ft! Sunfish are said to live up to 10 years in captivity, but their lifespan in a natural habitat has not yet been determined.

We even saw one today, July 29, 2012 and most days this past on either WASCO, our 12 passenger vessel or NANUQ, our 36 passenger vessel.

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