Love is in the air at the National Museum of Natural History! Our scientists are helping species look for love in this series of “dating profiles” to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Will #NMNHcupid help them find their one and only?
Screen name: NotJustASwimmingHead
Species: Mola mola
Location: No fixed address, warm and temperate pelagic waters around the globe.
Height : Up to 14ft, dorsal fin tip to anal fin tip, and 5000 lbs, but most of us adults clock in around 6-8ft and 500-2000 lbs.
Body Type: Pac-man-esqe would not be a stretch. I don’t have a caudal fin as do most other fish. Instead I have structure called a clavus fringing my posterior end. It serves as a rudder, while I flap my dorsal and anal fins for propulsion.
Diet: I am partial to soft food such as jellyfish and hydrozoans, but I also indulge in sponges, crustaceans, small fish, and various zoo-plankton .
My self summary
A ton, sometimes two tons, of fun in the sun.
The first thing people usually notice about me
“Why is that huge fish doing lying on its side at the surface?” NO, I’m not a goner floating belly up like the goldfish you overfed in the second grade. I’m just basking in the sun after feeding in cooler deep waters. By warming up topside, I can increase my body temperature and spend more time feeding down below. It takes a lot of jellyfish and zoo-plankton to keep me going.
I think a lot about
Did I just eat a jellyfish, or was it ANOTHER plastic bag? Sometimes I can’t tell the difference which puts my digestive system in a bind. Ocean trash is my bane.
Things I could never do without
Cleaner fish and birds! My large size makes me quite a target for skin parasites, so I regularly get some symbiotic help from smaller fish and seabirds to pick these pesky parasites out of my scales. My helpers get a nice meal in return.
The most private thing I'm willing to share
I’m the largest bony fish on earth baby! On my way from a small larva to an adult I increase in size 60 million times.
I'm looking for
Nothing too serious, just need a male with good timing. In fact as long as you are in the vicinity to fertilize the 300 million eggs I release, we’re good. We don’t need to meet face to face.
By Diane Pitassy, Division of Fishes, National Museum of Natural History