mola sighting in S. Africa...
specimen from the most elusive genus of sunfish,
Ranzania, was spotted April 11th 2008 off the
Atlantic coast of South Africa on the Cape Peninsula
at Scarborough Beach. Jules de Combs spotted
the wondrous slender mola, Ranzania laevis and
sent in a sighting and some photos. These sunfishes
described by Pennant in 1776 are rather diminutive
as far as molas go--growing no more than about
100 cm. They are capable of great speeds however
and have been caught by fishermen in Hawaii who
were trolling for skipjack tuna. For accounts
of Ranzania in South African waters, see Heemstra,
P.C., 1986. Molidae. p. 907-908. In M.M. Smith
and P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths' sea fishes.
Springer-Verlag, Berlin. We are collecting genetic
tissues of these animals for populations analyses
so if you ever come across freshly dead ones,
take a small sample freeze it and contact us.
Your sighting report can assist sunfish research.
It is important that you read the report instructions
thoroughly and include as accurate and precise
a location as possible. Click