Boffins were left stunned after discovering the world’s heaviest bony fish weighing over 2.7 tonnes on a beach in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
The massive sunfish weighed 2,744 kilogrammes (6,049 lbs) and was found in the Azores, a group of islands in the mid-Atlantic that belong to Portugal.
The fish, as can be seen in this footage, also measured 3.25 metres (10.6 feet), according to the scientists.
Images show the huge fish being lifted by a forklift truck before scientists can be seen cutting into it to examine it.
They published their findings in the academic journal, the Journal of Fish Biology, on 11th October, under the title ‘The heaviest bony fish in the world: a 2744 kg giant sunfish Mola alexandrini (Ranzani, 1839) from the North Atlantic’.
The article was authored by Jose Nuno Gomes-Pereira, Christopher K. Pham, Joana Miodonski, Marco A. R. Santos, Gisela Dionisio, Diana Catarino, Marianne Nyegaard, Etsuro Sawai, Gilberto P. Carreira, and Pedro Afonso.
The researchers said that while the fish had a head injury in the shape of a dent and traces of paint on it, suggesting it might have been hit by a boat, it was impossible beyond that to determine a cause of death.
An image of the huge fish was shared on social media by Alexander Kotrschal, an evolutionary behavioural biologist at Wageningen University, in the Netherlands, who said on Twitter: “It’s not pretty – but it is huge!!! A new bony fish world record: Sunfish (Mola alexandrini) found dead at the Azores with 2744kg / 325cm.” (sic)
It is currently unclear when exactly the fish was discovered.
The southern sunfish (Mola alexandrini), also known as Ramsay’s sunfish or the bump-head sunfish, belongs to the same family of Molidae as the better-known ocean sunfish or common mola (Mola mola).
The ocean sunfish is listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
The sunfish is often accidentally caught in large fishing nets due to its size. Bycatch is one of the biggest threats to the species. Plastic bags are also a threat as they resemble jellyfish, one of their prey.
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