In a rare sighting, a giant sunfish washed ashore at Australia’s Coorong National Park earlier this week, taking several people by surprise. A couple who was among the first to spot the marine animal near the mouth of river Murray said that they initially thought it was a shipwreck, reported The Guardian.
“My partner was out with his work crew and he thought it was a piece of a shipwreck at first,” Linette Grzelak was quoted as saying by The Guardian. Grzelak later posted the picture of the sunfish on her social media account, drawing reactions from across the world.
This species of aquatic creature, also called Mola Mola, is one of the world’s largest bony fish and can weigh as much as a car. It feeds on jellyfish and gets the name because of its habit of basking in the sun to warm up before it goes back into the ocean.
When asked about the occurrence, the fish collection manager at the South Australian Museum Ralph Foster told The Guardian that not much is known about this species of fish, and it is rarely found in that location. He also said that the sunfish could cause a lot of damage to yachts if it collided with one in open waters.
Last year during the Hobart race in Sydney, a yacht was forced to retire because its rudder broke after being hit by a sunfish.
In another sighting last month, a hoodwinker sunfish washed ashore at the Coal Oil Point Reserve in California. It was the first time the species had been sighted in the northern hemisphere in 130 years.