SUNFISH (MOLA MOLA) CHARACTERISTICS


Their characteristic body shape is unique and is about the most peculiar sight you might encounter while diving. They seem to have no caudal fins at all (this rudder-like structure is called clavus), the body is large and flattened and their eyes and mouth are very small. They possess sharp edged plates of fused teeth in the jaws, which are typical of puffer fish. The scaleless body is covered with a tough, leathery skin about 15cm thick. Silvery to brownish gray or a blue motteled colour. The gill openings are small and just behind them are the small pectoral fins. The dorsal and anal fins are large and look like paddles. They are flapped synchronously from side to side (like the triggerfish) and can propel the fish at surprisingly good speed. Adults have no swimbladder.

 

ECOLOGY AND RANGE


Mola Mola are found in all oceans in tropical and temperate climates, but prefer open ocean. They are adapted for life as a sluggish, pelagic predators of jellyfish or other larger invertebrates that come close enough to be sucked in. Probably, they inhabit the mesopelagic zone down to about 1000 meters, but live most commonly about 300m deep.

BEHAVIOUR


Mola Mola are considered to be among the most fecund of all vertebrates, producing more that 300 million eggs, each about 2mm to 3mm large. The larvae look much more like their close relatives, the puffer or porcupine fishes with needle like spikes. As they grow their body flattens and the spines and their tails disappear.

 

In southern California the sunfishes surface and seagulls pick these parasites off them. They often drift at the surface while lying on their side, or swim upright and close to the surface that their dorsal fin projects above the water like a large shark fins. Here Mola Mola are also commonly observed jumping out of the water.

Ready to go diving with these beautiful creatures? Get in touch with us today!

BEHAVIOUR CONT


In Bali the Mola Mola come relatively close to the reef to certain cleaning stations where groups of the bannerfish (Heniochus diphreutes) literally “attack” them, eating the parasites that infest their skin. If a sunfish comes even closer to the reef, angelfishes and sometimes other butterflyfishes also go after the parasites.

Mola mola eat a variety of foods, but mostly gelatinous zooplankton (jellyfish and salps) as well as squid, sponges, serpent star, eel grass, crustaceans, small fishes and deepwater eel larvae. Molas forage both at the surface, among floating weeds, on the sea floor and in deep water. They are well adapted to eat jellyfish because their thick skin provides armor against the stinging barbs. Ocean sunfish render their prey into bite-size pieces before ingesting the morsels by sucking in their prey and spitting it out again. They have long, claw-like teeth in their throat.

BEHAVIOUR CONT


The common sunfish, Mola mola, are often covered with parasites. Some 40 different genera of parasites have been recorded on this species alone. To get rid of these them they approach drift kelp and other flotsam to recruit small fish living there to clean them.

 

Molas have a very small mouth that they can’t close and they posses a parrot-like beak formed by sharp edged plates of fused teeth. This is also typical of puffer fish. Molas are not highly desirable as food, since their meat may contain the same toxin as puffers and porcupine fish. The sunfish can get to be over 100 years old.

  • Hotel pickup/drop off service (Contact us for free zones)
  • Full dive equipment
  • Lunch, bottled water, tea & coffee
  • Beach towels
  • Renewed & insured PADI Divemaster / Instructor dive guide
  • Diver Insurance
  • All park & porter fees
Equipment rental is available at no extra charge for those who do not have their own dive gear, Nitrox air fills are available at IDR   65.000 per fill. Lunch is provided courtesy of our local warungs who work exclusively for Blue Season Bali. Choose between the delicious sandwiches and the traditional dishes of Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng. Vegetarians are also catered for. When diving with Blue Season Bali you only need to bring your certification cards and logbooks as well as items such items as sunglasses, sunscreen, swimsuit and a camera. Blue Season Bali has digital underwater cameras available for rent at IDR   600.000 / day. This includes a FREE SD card for you to keep.
All of our Bali Sunfish trips are led and guided by our experienced team of PADI Divemasters and Instructors. We can’t wait to show you what Bali Diving has to offer! We keep our diving ratio’s at 4  guests to one guide – so that you get the best, safest experience here in Bali!

*Important - please note that Nusa Penida can experience strong currents and for this reason we require the minimum diving experience for all participants:

  • At least 30 logged dives.
  • Minimum Advanced Open Water diver certification.
  • Experience in deep and drift diving.
  • Dived within the last 6 months.
  • For divers who do not have the necessary experience, we hold the right to refuse them entry to this  programme in the interests of safety, or we may require them to undergo a day of diving at a different location in order to check them out first.
  • Alternatively why not ask about our Advanced Open Water Certification?
  • Please also note that Manta Point can experience swell – small children and those sensitive to motion sickness may experience seasickness at this site. Due to surface conditions, it is not always possible to visit Manta Point. Should the conditions be unsafe, an alternative site will be chosen on the day. No refunds will be given for trips that do not include Manta Point.

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