Thursday, October 21, 2004

Farewell Spit monster

A sunfish that washed up near the base of Farewell Spit is a monster with a strange sense of timing, a marine expert says. The 3m sunfish was discovered at Taupata Creek near Puponga by passers-by on Sunday.

Department of Conservation worker and Pakawau resident Heather Gunn said she was driving past when she saw "a big lump" on the beach, which she initially thought to be a whale. "It looked fresh. It did not smell and it had not been pecked over." DOC marine specialist Andrew Baxter said the most recent sunfish discovery was "a real oddity" because of the time of year.

The Ocean Sunfish (Mola mola) is a bizarre pelagic fish, the largest bony fish in the world, with specimens observed up to 3.3 m in length and weighing up to 2,300 kg. A member of order Tetraodontiformes, it is the type species of its genus.