The slender sunfish (Ranzania laevis) has smooth skin and is only 80cm in length compared to the giant ocean sunfish (Mola mola), which can grow to 3m.
“Slender sunfish are rare and little is known about them,” says Two Oceans Aquarium Curator Michael Farquhar. “They are beautiful animals and for this reason we are keen to display one so that people have the opportunity to see them from an underwater perspective. Many people had never heard of sunfish, let alone seen one, until we displayed one in the I&J Predator Exhibit just after the Aquarium opened in 1995. At sea you normally only catch a fleeting glimpse of a fin or a large flat disk before the fish dives into the ocean depths – as a result many people mistake sunfish for sharks.”
Members of the public who encounter live slender sunfish on the beach or in shallow water are encouraged to contact the Aquarium immediately on +27 (0)21 418 3823. The Aquarium is committed to assisting injured or stranded fish, and contributing to research on these enigmatic animals.
- Aquarium on alert as slender sunfish wash ashore
- Our work with sunfish
- Ocean sunfish rescue
- Ocean sunfish (Mola mola) in Sturrock Dry Dock