Sunfish found in Portugal is the heaviest in the world

3-ton moonfish is the largest ever discovered

Image: The Atlantic Naturalist Association/YouTube/Reproduction

Fishermen working in Porto da Horta, on the south coast of the island of Faial, in the Azores, were surprised by a fish weighing no less than 2.7 tons. The animal appeared on the Portuguese island on December 9, 2021, and is now defined by the scientific community as the heaviest bony fish ever recorded.

It was a southern sunfish (Alexandrini spring) 3.5 meters long and 3.6 meters high. The animal was described by researchers in Journal of Fish Biology.

Unfortunately, the giant was found already dead floating in European waters. Scientists collected stomach contents from the fish and also samples of its DNA, but found no signs of plastic or intoxication.

The sunfish had a head injurywhich led the team to believe that the animal hit a vessel during its voyage and ended up injured.

The previous record for the heaviest bony fish in the world also belonged to a sunfish. This one was captured in Japan in 1996 and weighed about 2.3 tons, according to the Guinness World Records.

As explained to live science, the species name has nothing to do with its round shape. In fact, the animals get their name because they spend part of their time on the ocean surface basking in sunlight. Afterwards, they return for long dives in the cold, dark waters in search of food.

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