Family: MOLIDAE, Mola, Ocean Sunfishes, Molas
OCEAN SUNFISHES, MOLAS
Ocean sunfishes are medium to very large fishes (0.8-3.5 m) that have deep, strongly compressed bodies; mouth small, 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; pectoral small, situated on center of side; no pelvics; no tail base; dorsal and anal fins short-based, 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, undulating skin fold at rear of body; skin leathery, scales small.
Molas are oceanic fishes, with four species in three genera that are found worldwide in tropical to warm temperate areas. Three species occur in the tropical eastern Pacific.
PREPARED BY D ROSS ROBERTSON, AFTER MATSUURA (2002)