Fishermen sailing off the northern coast of Morocco discovered a colossal fish resembling a large oblong pancake with huge, bulging eyes entangled in their nets. They immediately called in a marine biology laboratory to examine the beast.
The fish was isolated in an underwater enclosure attached to the boat, then the team lifted it out of the water with a crane. “We tried to put it on the scale, but it is limited to 1,000 kilos,” Enrique Ostale, one of the biologists sent to the scene, told Reuters.
Once on deck, the fish was measured at 3.2 metres long and 1.09 metres wide, the equivalent of two mattresses put together! “Based on its build and comparing it to other fish, we were able to estimate its weight at around two tonnes,” explains Enrique Ostale. With its dark grey skin, rounded grooves on its flanks and characteristic truncated tail, this particular specimen was probably a Mola alexandrini, a subspecies of the molefish genus, or sunfish, the largest bony fish known, according to the scientist. It has a continuous growth habit: it never stops growing, so it can reach a considerable size. The largest known specimen measured 3.30 metres and weighed more than 2,300 kilos. But it doesn’t risk swallowing you whole: not only does the mole have a very small mouth, but it also feeds mainly on jellyfish.
The researchers took some photos and DNA samples, and then released the fish into the Mediterranean.