Actinopteri (ray-finned fishes) > Tetraodontiformes
(Puffers and filefishes) > Molidae
(Molas or Ocean Sunfishes)
Etymology: Mola: Latin, mola, -ae = stone mill; because of the shape of this fish (Ref. 45335).
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; pelagic-oceanic; depth range - 300 m (Ref. 86942), usually - m (Ref. ). Subtropical; 0°C -
Circumglobal: widely distributed in the world’s oceans except for the polar regions.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 300 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 4424); max. published weight: 2.3 t (Ref. 117083)
This species is distinguished from its congeners by the following characters: head profile with bump (specimens >162.5 cm TL); chin with enlarged bump (>135.0 cm TL); rectangular body scales on the middle region of the body (shape developing with age, final shape not established on specimens <70.0 cm TL, but established on those >162.5 cm TL; rounded clavus (usually not wavy and without indents), supported by 14-24 (mode 17) clavus fn rays and 8-15 (12) ossicles (Ref. 117083).
This species is presumed to prefer warmer water temperatures than Mola mola (in Sanriku coast of Japan, this species occur at sea surface temperatures of 16.8-25.6°C, average 19.9°C (vs. 11.5-25.6°C, average 17.7°C when Mola mola appeared in the area). The maximum recorded weight of 2,300 kg applies to a 272 cm TL female caught off the coast of Kamogawa, Japan by a set net (Ref. 117083).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Heemstra, P.C., 1986. Molidae. p. 907-908. In M.M. Smith and P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths' sea fishes. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. (Ref. 4424)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 124695)
Threat to humans
Common namesSynonymsMetabolismPredatorsEcotoxicologyReproductionMaturitySpawningSpawning aggregationFecundityEggsEgg development
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingNutrientsMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.6562 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.02455 (0.01027 - 0.05865), b=3.02 (2.81 - 3.23), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 3.8 ±0.6 se; based on size and trophs of closest relatives
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Very high vulnerability (81 of 100) .