Head without a rider (6 photos)

Category: Animals, PEGI 0+
16 May 2024

The ocean is home to quite a few strange creatures. But even against their background, a fish stands out, which looks like someone’s head, which decided that it was time to get out of its comfort zone and went for a walk (or rather, swim) on its own.

You've definitely heard about it many times. This is the sunfish

The first thing that comes to mind when you look at this fish is: “where is the rest?” And nowhere. This is all. The moon fish has no tail. It is replaced by fused rays of the dorsal and anal fins, which form the so-called pseudotail. These same fins, only their front part, serve the fish for movement. The moon fish flaps them like wings and moves forward. To turn, it releases a stream of water from its mouth and gill slits. The main question is, why does the moon fish even look like this? Who the hell knows. These fish, despite their wide distribution, have been studied quite little and much about them remains unclear to us to this day.

What else can be said about the structure of the moon fish. She has a very short spine. The number of vertebrae in it is the smallest among all fish, and its spinal cord is shorter than the brain.

The moonfish is the largest among bony fish. Although it is not entirely bone. There is a lot of cartilage tissue in her skeleton. This reduces its weight and allows it to reach such impressive sizes. The length of the moon fish can reach more than 3 meters, and its weight is more than 2 tons. The largest sunfish caught dead off the Azores in 2022 weighed 2,744 kg.

Under the skin of the fish there is a cartilaginous layer 5-7 cm thick. Thanks to this, it is difficult to pierce it the first time, even with a harpoon. And when a ship, even a large one, hits a moon basking on the surface of a fish, the effect is similar to if you drive a car at full speed and run its wheel into a brick.

Moon Pisces are heat-loving creatures. Therefore, they live in temperate and tropical latitudes. Being exposed to water temperatures below 12 degrees for a long time, they lose orientation (in space, not sexual) and subsequently die. But in order to search for food, they still take risks, descending to a depth of 844 meters. Although most of the time is spent much closer to the surface. Often they can be found lying on the very surface of the work surface. There is an opinion that this is how the moon fish warms up before descending to depth. Most of the time it slowly drifts in the water column looking for food. Until recently, it was believed that the moon fish was not able to fight the current, so it was classified as macroplankton. But recent observations have shown that it can.

This fish feeds mainly on jellyfish and plankton. Although she is not averse to snacking on fish larvae, small crustaceans, ctenophores and cephalopods. But the moon fish itself can be eaten by anyone who is able to bite through its hard skin. These are mainly sea lions, sharks and killer whales. The slow and clumsy moon fish is simply not able to oppose them with anything, so they mock it as they please. Sea lions, for example, often bite off their upper and lower fins and push them to the surface, where it is much easier for them to bite through the thick skin and cartilaginous shell. But sometimes, after a couple of such tosses, the sea lion loses interest in the prey and the helpless luna fish sinks to the bottom, where it is gnawed by starfish.

The only semblance of a defense mechanism in these fish is camouflage. They are able to change color in case of danger. Become brown, greenish, silvery or almost pure white. But given the huge size, this helps little.

The reason the moonfish is not yet extinct is because of its fertility. At one time, this fish is capable of laying up to 300 million eggs. This is a record among all vertebrates. Moreover, the size of an adult fish can exceed the size of a newly hatched larva by 60 million times. Which is also a record.

The moon fish grows very quickly. In captivity, she is capable of gaining almost half a kilo a day. At the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the weight of the moon fish increased from 26 to 399 kg in 15 months.

Well, one of the most favorite topics of my readers. Do they eat this miracle? Are eating. Who exactly I think is clear. Of course our brothers are Asians. Among them, moonfish meat is considered a delicacy. In general, it is flabby and not tasty. May contain toxins when sunfish eat algae and some jellyfish, which is why its sale is banned in Europe.

Finally, a few more photos of this amazing fish

Someone did something

Add your comment
  • bowtiesmilelaughingblushsmileyrelaxedsmirk

You might be interested in: