Ocean sunfish, also known as Mola Mola, are the world’s heaviest bony fish. These creatures can span up to three meters long and weigh more than two tons when fully-grown. With such a massive surface area, you’d be right to assume that ocean sunfish accumulate their fair share of skin parasites along the way. Fortunately, they’ve developed a means of ‘bathing’ to get them off.
In this video, a team of interested researchers take a small submersible vehicle to the ocean sunfish’s depths to find a prime specimen in its natural habitat. Upon following the sunfish, onboard cameras captured the stunning moments of the fish approaching and passing the vehicle.
At first, it seemed like the ocean sunfish was swimming around looking for jellyfish to eat, but it didn’t take long before the team captured unique behavioral footage showcasing what it was really up to. Shortly after, the sunfish visited a school of smaller ‘cleaner fish’ that slowly pecked away at its skin, removing surface parasites that would otherwise result in health deterioration for the ocean sunfish.
This is just one example of how animals support one another in a vastly diverse ecosystem. Similar symbiotic relationships occur above the surface on land animals, but scientists are only just beginning to understand them.