The ocean sunfish, aka the Mola Mola, is a fascinating creature with some unique features and habits. Let’s learn more about this amazing and weird fish that we are lucky to be able to observe around Bali.

  • Mola Mola is actually the scientific name of the ocean sunfish. In some languages, the Mola Mola is also known as moonfish. In German it is called Schwimmender Kopf, literally a “swimming head”. In Polish it is named Samogłów, meaning “head alone” due to its weird body shape and the absence of a real tail.
  • They generally hang out at depths of 160 to 650 feet, but can go much deeper on occasion. They can dive up to 2600 feet. After diving the deepest, darkest parts of the ocean to hunt, Mola Mola spend half the day basking in the sun near the surface of the water to re-heat their bodies and aid digestion.
  • Sunfish can lay up to 300,000,000 eggs at once, more than any vertebrate. This strategy ensures that at least some of these eggs will survive.
  • The average ocean sunfish is 10 feet long and weighs 2200 pounds. However, the largest ocean sunfish weighed 2.5 tons, which is comparable to an SUV, making them the world’s largest bony fish.
  • They are classified as vulnerable to extinction. The same level as polar bears, cheetahs, and giant pandas.

Mola Mola sightings in Bali

We are lucky to be able to observe these giants around Bali. From May to October, when the water gets colder in some of our favorite dive sites, these giants get closer to the surface.
Most of the sightings are around Nusa Penida, in Crystal Bay or around other dive sites in the north of the Island. Sightings are quite frequent as well in the dive sites around Padangbai and Candidasa.

So if you are a diver and planning a dive trip to Bali during the right season, don’t miss out on the opportunity to spot these majestic giants!

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