4.2 metres tall (Mola mola) / 3.3 metres tall (Mola ramsayi)
1 tonne (Mola mola)
There are two Mola species that are thought to be found in Galapagos: Mola mola, the ocean sunfish and Mola ramsayi, the southern sunfish. They look very similar and the southern sunfish was only confirmed as a visitor to the Islands through genetic analysis in 2011. They are found throughout the globe, in tropical, sub-tropical and temperate waters as they prefer temperatures of at least 10° C – anything colder may cause disorientation. This is probably why they are usually observed basking in the sun, close to the surface, which is where they gained their English name. Their Latin name, Mola, means ‘millstone’, taken from their rounded body and grey colour.
Sunfish in Galapagos
"The Galapagos Marine Reserve is one of the largest marine protected areas in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in its own right."
The recently expanded Galapagos Marine Reserve provides a sanctuary for endangered marine life, but it is vital to monitor the impact of protected areas in order to inform management strategies.