The Ocean Sunfish -
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Welcome! The giant ocean sunfishes, family Molidae, are some of Earth’s most fascinating yet mysterious creatures. These jelly-eating giants hold the record for being the world’s heaviest bony fish and occupy a unique place in the open ocean web of life. This site is dedicated to consolidating our current state of knowledge and announcing our latest research discoveries and those of others as they become available. Be sure to check out the research section and if you have recently published something on mola or produced a film with mola in it please, do let us know--we’d love to add this information to the site. We are also excited to share a new feature that involves you! If you are certain you have seen a mola, please add your sighting to our growing database by clicking here.

We welcome your comments, suggestions, additions, deletions and hope you enjoy the site. Dive in!

Seeking the sun in deep, dark places: mesopelagic sightings of ocean sunfishes (Molidae) N. D. Phillips, C. Harrod, A. R. Gates, T. M. Thys and J. D. R. Houghton. Journal of Fish Biology, 2015
Evidence is presented from publicly available remotely operated vehicle (ROV) footage that suggests deep-water ranging in ocean sunfishes (family Molidae) is more common than typically thought, including a new maximum depth recorded for the southern sunfish Mola ramsayi.

Oregon Coast Beach Discoveries Include Rare Fish, Jellies, Uglies - Oregon Coast Beach Connection 11/5/2015

Also: "We found five or six of the sunfish the same size of the one in the picture directly above (1.5 foot being held by person) washed up scattered dead on Neahkahnie Beach in Manzanita Oregon this morning. We haven't seen this type of fish here before..."
Rich Bayless, Neahkahnie Beach Nov 8, 2015 - See more at:

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Seen an ocean sunfish? You can help Dr. Tierney Thys ( and her colleagues by reporting your sighting. Your sightings can help us understand the behaviors and movements of these amazing creatures. Any high quality pictures documenting your sighting are exceptionally helpful for species confirmation.

Sightings Latest Sighting
Date: 04/11/2016
Location: N 36.032440, W 75.658546
Behavior: washed up on shore
Marks: cleaner fish on side?

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About Tierney Thys

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Adopt a Sunfish
Adopt a molaI’d like to tell you a story about a very special little girl who inspired the creation of the Adopt a Sunfish. Early in 2007, I was serving as a National Geographic expert on a ... read more