11 thoughts on “Name That Animal

  1. Ooohhh… OceanSunfish… these are SOOO COOOL… I have seen babies the size of silver dollars (and BOY are they CUTE!!!) under kelp paddies.
    The adults can be 12 feet long from head to… ummm… end (no tails)… and weigh over 2,000 pounds!! They swim with those pectoral fins and I have seen them JUMP clear of the water… awesome fish!

    From your token marine biologist .


  2. Sunfish!

    These guys sometimes bask on the surface, leisurely sculling with their fins. I’ve heard that’s how they got their name. And their latinate name is just fun to say: Mola mola. I always hear it to the tune of the Kinks’ ‘Lola.’



    As so many of you clever people already know, this is an ocean sunfish. There is a brief video of one swimming on Wiki. I love its many names:

    Many of the sunfish’s various names allude to its flattened shape. Its specific name, mola, is Latin for “millstone”, which the fish resembles because of its grey colour, rough texture, and rounded body. Its common English name, sunfish, refers to the animal’s habit of sunbathing at the surface of the water. The Dutch-, Portuguese-, French-, Catalan-, Spanish-, Italian-, Russian-, Greek- and German-language names, respectively maanvis, peixe lua, poisson lune, peix lluna, pez luna, pesce luna, рыба-луна, φεγγαρόψαρο and Mondfisch, mean “moon fish”, in reference to its rounded shape. In German, the fish is also known as Schwimmender Kopf, or “swimming head”. In Polish, it is named samogłów, meaning “head alone”, because it has no true tail. The Chinese translation of its academic name is fan-che yu, meaning “toppled wheel fish”.



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