The world’s largest bony fish which can weigh up to 2.5 tons and grow to be 10ft long has been spotted off the Dorset coast.
The Ocean Sunfish (or Mola Mola) is a strange-looking creature – resembling a giant fish head without a body – that can weigh more than a car.
Its name refers to its habit of basking in the sun close to the water’s surface.
The fish is often as tall as it is long, and when they swim near the surface their tall dorsal fin can see them mistaken them for sharks.
This Ocean Sunfish was snapped just outside Portland Harbour by Liz Hemsley who shared her amazing photograph with the Marine Conservation Society.
They tweeted: “Wow! An Ocean Sunfish (or Mola Mola) spotted off #Portland Harbour yesterday afternoon.
“#Sunfish are the largest bony fish on the planet and visit UK seas during the summer months to eat jellyfish. Have you ever seen one?”
Other people then shared their sightings.
TheWaddells74 tweeted: “I love these fellas … they can dive really deep for food ….. then they like to bask in the sun near the surface layer of the ocean to warm up their body.”
LittleFreeCoast said: “Awesome. I’ve seen few diving in Indonesia, such a unique looking fish!”
Jean Hill replied: “Yes off the south coast of Devon whilst walking the coast path. It would have been about 5 years ago. Wonderful.”
While Carey Marks described following a sunfish in their boat saying: “Yes, our boat followed on for 7/8 minutes but sadly not in this hemisphere. Just off White Knights Islands when diving in New Zealand.”
In July last year a group of swimmers were joined by a sunfish at Port Isaac in Cornwall.
The swimmers were on a guided swim organised by Cornish Swim Tours from Port Gaverne to Port Isaac when they spotted a fin in the water.
People at Cornish Swim Tours and Cornish Rock Tors, based at Port Gaverne, filmed the creature and shared it with Cornwall Live.
John Waters, who led the private tour, said: “We take people on guided swims. This was on a swim we do fairly regularly from Port Gaverne to Port Isaac.
“It was 100 yards from the shore, just outside the harbour.
“I was on the rescue boat and I saw it about 30 yards away.
“It then saw for four or five minutes around us.”
In March last year a sunfish found washed up on a river’s beach was so massive, the people who discovered it mistook it for a piece of a shipwreck.
Linette Grzelak posted a picture of the dead sunfish found by a fishing crew at the mouth of the Murray River over the weekend in South Australia.
She told the Guardian Australia of the incredible find: “My partner was out with his work crew and he thought it was a piece of shipwreck at first.”
Tales of the giant sunfish affecting ships in Australian waters date back over a century.
In 1908 a steamer off the coast of Sydney was halted by a 10ft 2in by 13ft 4in sunfish found jammed in its port propeller.
In 1998 a sunfish weighing 1.4 tonnes was found stuck to the bow of a cement-carrying ship docked in Sydney.
And in 2018, a yacht had to withdraw from the Rolex Sydney Hobart boat race after it hit a sunfish and broke its rudder.