A giant sunfish that was found wounded washed up dead along the beach area near the Diwata Shore complex on 05 March 2019 around 4:00 AM at Brgy. Mambatad, Miagao, Iloilo. Ms. Lorelie Noblezada, a local resident, has reported about the stranded sunfish to the UPV Museum of Natural Sciences, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. After careful examinations and documentation based on its morphological features and descriptions, the stranded sunfish was later identified as Mola mola by the UPV Museum of Natural Sciences.
The Mola mola measuring 7.5ft (2.3meters) by 11 ft. (3.4 meters) and weighing about 400 kilograms was found along the beach. The Mola mola has a rounded tail with long dorsal and anal fins and an almost circular body. The sunfish thrives in deeper waters and can go as deep as 600 meters. As to why this fish surfaced from its habitat is unclear. This Mola mola was probably hunting for food or simply spending time on the surface to warmup.
This is the first time this year that a big Mola mola was washed ashore specifically in Miagao. For Noblezada, this was not a rare case for her to encounter a sunfish in Miagao. She was also a witness to other sunfish sightings in the area several years ago.
A tissue sample from the sunfish was taken in the laboratory by the UPV-MNS as reference for future studies. The entire specimen was buried to preserve the bone structures of the fish.