Etsuro Sawai | Largest Size Records and Taxonomic History of Modern Ocean Sunfishes (Molidae)

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Ocean sunfishes (family Molidae) have attracted the interest of people for centuries because of their unique shape (a complete lack of a caudal fin) and large size (3 m total length and 2,000 kg body weight). The study of molid morphology and taxonomy dates back to at least the 16th century and encompasses a long legacy of taxonomic confusion. In recent years, due to the development of genetics, the taxonomy of modern ocean sunfishes has greatly advanced. Currently, the family Molidae has five valid species: slender sunfish Ranzania laevis (Pennant 1776), sharptail sunfish Masturus lanceolatus (Liénard 1840), hoodwinker sunfish Mola tecta Nyegaard et al. 2017, giant sunfish Mola alexandrini (Ranzani 1839), and ocean sunfish Mola mola (Linnaeus 1758). Here we review the largest size records and taxonomic history, for progressing the taxonomic understanding of ocean sunfishes (adult to senescent stage) in the future.
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