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Sunfish (Mola)

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The sunfish (Mola mola, also called the mola or sun fish) is a large ocean fish found in warm and temperate oceans. It has an almost circular, flattened body. This unusual fish swims by flapping its long pectoral and dorsal fins; the caudal fin is used as a rudder (for steering). Some sunfish have been seen floating on their sides at the top of the sea; they may be using the sun to heat themselves up.

Anatomy: The sunfish grows to be about 10 ft (3 m) long, but some up to 13 ft (4 m) have been seen. It weighs up to 2 tons. The gills are covered by a flap called an operculum. The head is almost a third of the total body length. The small mouth has large fused teeth in the front.

Diet: The sunfish is a carnivore (meat-eater) that eats jellyfish, comb-jellies, and some crustaceans.

Classification: Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Chordata, Class Osteichthyes (bony fish), Order Plectognathi (=Tetraodontiformes), Family Molidae, Genus Mola, Species M. mola.

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