Rarely Seen Fish

Mola Mola or Ocean Sunfish, the swimming head.

Ocean sunfish (Mola Mola) is the heaviest boned fish. It looks like a head. That's it. Just a head. Adults can weigh in at a hefty 1,000 kgs (2,200 pounds).

Their food of choice is jellyfish which is nature's equivalent of, well, Jello without the sugar. Because jellyfish are nutritionally empty and because sunfish grow to such huge sizes, they have eat a lot of jellyfish and that has to be a good thing.




They stay in temperate or tropical waters and, contrary to what their name suggests, they do not spend their time at the surface basking in the sun but spend most of their lives at depths of 200 m (660 feet) or so. They are related to the family of fish that includes puffer fish and porcupine fish.

They have few natural predators but sea lions, orcas and sharks will eat them.

I wondered if sunfish were good to eat considering their biblical potential to feed many with one and wiki says sunfish are considered a delicacy in Asia. More on ocean sunfish here.


Megamouth Shark

In researching this creature I noticed a distinct lack of photos showing this shark alive. Most of the available images are of megamouths dead and washed ashore. Even when they're alive they don't really move a whole lot horizontally speaking. They mostly just meander slowly around the ocean, rising and submerging during the day and night.




The name megamouth + shark might give you the impression of a gaping maw full of razor sharp daggers of shredding death but no, it has a rubbery mouth with small teeth that look like they're embedded in a plate that it can take out at night and soak in a jar. They don't need many teeth as their diet consists mainly of plankton and jellyfish.

Not a lot is known about them and I was surprised to find that often pictures of basking sharks were used in articles about megamouths. Bad, naughty, Internet!


This is a basking shark, not a megamouth. Yes, it has a mega mouth but an actual megamouth's snout (?) is rounded.

Megamouth sharks grow to about 5.5 m (18 ft) and as of 2012 there have only been a little over 50 sightings. For more information, check out the megamouth wiki page here.


Blobfish



Looking literally like a blob, these gelatinous creatures are bottom feeders and rarely seen by humans. They're said to be facing extinction, though how anyone knows this when they're rarely seen by humans is anyone's guess. When you think about it, with our current global warming issues and general inability to get along, everything on planet earth is potentially endangered.

Blobfish are inadvertently caught by bottom trawlers as a bycatch. For slighly more information on blobfish check out the wiki page here.


Barreleye Fish

This is pretty much the only picture out there where you can see, somewhat, its distinct transparent head. Barreleye fish have telescoping eyes they can direct forward or upward to see above them. I have no idea where its eyes are directed in this image. The eyes themselves are protected inside this transparent tissue and the two spots that look like eyes are not eyes. They're something else. I don't know what. More information here.


Banded piglet squid is smiling at you

Piglet squid

If this squid swam around like all the other squids namely right side up, you might not give it a second glance. It's habit of swimming upside down makes it look like a kind of tiny, adorable Medusa or wrong side up Cthulhu headed thing.

This one was found off the Gulf of Guinea, West Africa.




Not a lot on this creature. It's a little squid. This squid made the list based entirely on its resemblance to cartoon characters - Mrs. Puff in the case of the banded piglet and Piglet in the case of the other two images. Not a whole lot more information can be found here.


Gulper or pelican eel

Found in very deep water - as deep as 10,000 feet (3,000 m) - the gulper or pelican eel has evolved to be able to swallow entire whales and maybe even submarines. Considering it only grows to about one metre (3 ft) evolution clearly erred on the side of over-kill.




The pelican eel uses a whip-like tail for movement. The end of the tail bears a complex organ with numerous tentacles, which glows pink and gives off occasional bright-red flashes. You've probably seen enough Hentai to know where that is going. Some think the glowing tail acts as a lure for prey. However this lure is situated as far away from its mouth as it can be and still be on the same fish so I question the practicality of this feature as a lure. Oh Nature, you silly scamp. For more information click here.


Oarfish, 1996 California, found by Navy during training 




I included a picture of an oarfish in a picture dump post a while ago. I think they're beautiful and somewhat fantastical in colouring, shape and size. Also known as the king of herrings, it is the largest fish in the herring family, growing up to 30 feet and weighing 400 pounds. The world record holder measured 36 feet. It lives in deep water and rarely comes to the surface. In fact if you see one at the surface it is because something is wrong and it is injured, sick or about to die.


Two at the surface cannot be a good sign.

Although the largest of oarfish are considered game fish, they are rarely caught alive and are not considered good eating because the flesh is gelatinous. Oarfish feed primarily on zooplankton, selectively straining tiny euphausiids, shrimp and other crustaceans from the water. Small fish, jellyfish and squid are also taken. Large open-ocean carnivores are all likely predators of oarfish, and include the Oceanic whitetip shark. Click here for more pictures.

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