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Updated: 06/12/2008  

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Tetraodontiformes  -  Molidae  -  Mola  -  Mola mola

Mola mola

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oval, length ~ height
  C very short, convex



Mola mola (Linnaeus, 1758)

Ocean sunfish

Body a deep oval (depth usually ~ length),
 strongly compressed; mouth a horizontal slit when closed, opens at the front, is a beak (without a central suture) composed of teeth fused to the jaws; gill openings small, on side just before pectorals; pectorals short, rounded; no pelvics; dorsal 17-18 rays; anal 14-18 rays; pectoral 12-13 rays; no tail base;  dorsal and anal fins long and high, symmetrical, used for locomotion, at rear of body, their rear rays joined to tail fin immediately behind them that is reduced to a vertically elongate, short, blunt rudder, with bony ossicles on its margin, with an undulating rounded profile; skin thick, tough, with small denticles.

Grey brown to dark blue above, often with large pale blotches, silvery below, fins dark.

Size: 332 cm.

Habitat: oceanic.

Depth near surface, 0-644 m.

        Circumglobal, tropical to warm temperate; off Baja and the Gulf of California, and the Galapagos; potentially throughout our region.

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