Sunday, 19 September 2010

Sunfish

This is a BIG one!
Photo by Paul Howells, off south-west Wales

Fiona MacGillivray saw one of these amazing fish in the Sound of Islay yesterday. She could only see the dorsal fin sticking out of the water, but this is a sufficient identification character.  They have an almost circular body as they seem to have forgotten to grow a tail when they evolved. Fiona couldn't say how large the one she saw was, but the very largest can grow to about 3 metres across and weigh hundreds of kilos! They are regular in the waters round Cornwall, but get scarcer as you come north. The really huge ones are in warmer waters, but specimens up to 1.5–2 m across and weighing up to 50 kg have been reported from Cornwall and south-west Wales. It was too far away for her to photograph, but here are a few images from the internet. They often seem to swim on their sides, as in the middle photo, with the dorsal fin flopping about.

12 comments:

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