The Ocean Sunfish
his strange fish may grow up to 10 feet long with a weight of over a ton,
though it is normally smaller. Including its fins it is taller than it is long. Its body
is round and flat like a disk. Its dorsal and anal fins are distinctive, being tall and
located to the rear of the body. These fins appear joined by the caudal fin. The body is
silver grey, and the fins are dark.
This is a pelagic fish, and when spotted near the
coast it is because it comes to be cleaned by cleaning wrasses, more abundant close to the
It feeds on animal plankton, algae, squid and
small fishes like eel larvae, etc. It has been observed lying flat near the surface, a
behaviour quite controversial. Some people believe it does so to get sunlight, others that
this behaviour is only shown in illness or death and others that it is looking below, for
prey or predators.
Juveniles of about 1 inch long are much longer
than they are tall. The Ocean Sunfish has a very small brain compared to its size: A 200
kg. specimen may have a brain the size of a nut weighing only 4 g.
© Proofreading Bob Bridges