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The ocean sunfish, Mola mola, or common mola, is the heaviest known bony fish in the world. It has an average adult weight of 1,000 kg (2,200 lb). The species is native to tropical and temperate waters around the globe. It resembles a fish head with a tail, and its main body is flattened laterally. Sunfish can be as tall as they are long when their dorsal and ventral fins are extended.
Sunfish live on a diet that consists mainly of jellyfish, but because this diet is nutritionally poor, they consume large amounts in order to develop and maintain their great bulk. Females of the species can produce more eggs than any other known vertebrate. Sunfish fry resemble miniature pufferfish, with large pectoral fins, a tail fin and body spines uncharacteristic of adult sunfish.
Researchers theorize that surface basking behaviour, in which a sunfish swims on its side, presenting its largest profile to the sun, may be a method of "thermally recharging" following dives into deeper, colder water.
The sunfish lacks a swim bladder.
Although early research suggested that sunfish traveled mainly by drifting with ocean currents, individuals have been recorded swimming 26 km in a day, at a top speed of 3.2 km/h. Sunfish are pelagic and swim at depths of up to 600 m (2,000 ft). Contrary to the general perception that sunfish spend much of their time basking at the surface, research suggests that adult M. mola actually spend a large portion of their lives submerged at depths greater than 200 m (660 ft), occupying both the epipelagic and mesopelagic zones.