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!

Tracking a Marine Ecotourism Star: Movements of the Short Ocean Sunfish Mola ramsayi in Nusa Penida, Bali, IndonesiaTierney Thys, John P. Ryan, Kevin C. Weng, Mark Erdmann, and Joeharnani Tresnati, Journal of Marine Biology Volume 2016 (2016),
Ocean sunfishes, Molidae, comprise the world’s heaviest bony fishes. They include the short mola, Mola ramsayi (Giglioli 1883), an important tourist draw at Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan, Bali, where SCUBA divers can observe ectoparasite-laden individuals being cleaned by smaller reef fishes. More...

Entire Sunfish Genome Sequenced

Genome of the world's largest bony fish may explain fast growth rate and large size." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 September 2016. Read more

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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

Citing this site

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