Fun Sharptail Mola Facts For Kids

Georgia Stone
Aug 31, 2023 By Georgia Stone
Originally Published on Oct 22, 2021
Sharptail mola facts are very interesting to read.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.1 Min

Sharptail mola (Masturus lanceolatus) is a monotypic species of the genus Masturus, and these molas are commonly found in temperate and tropical waters. Sharptail mola look similar to an ocean sunfish (Mola mola), but they can be easily differentiated by their clavus projection.

A sharptail mola also has various different names that they are called, such as point-tailed sunfish, trunkfish, and sharpfin sunfish. These molas have become an important part of the Taiwanese fishery industry as commercial fish.

Sharptail mola is one of the largest bone fishes, and an adult can grow up to 11 ft (3.4 m) and weigh up to 4,400 lb (1,996 kg) which is double the size of all other ocean sunfish.

The dorsal fin and the anal fin of the sharptail mola merge into a clavus, and the central ray of the clavus takes the form of an elongated lobe that helps these fish to use it as a propeller to move forwards.

If you like these true facts about the sharptail mola, be sure to check out these true facts about swai fish and skate fish.

Sharptail Mola Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a sharptail mola?

The sharptail mola (Masturus lanceolatus) is one of the largest bony fish and is a monotypic species of the genus Masturus.

These sharpfin sunfish spend most of their time deep under the waters and rarely come to the surface, and the ones that do visit the surface are mostly ill or to get the parasites on their bodies removed by flying birds.

What class of animal does a sharptail mola belong to?

The sharptail mola (Masturus lanceolatus) belongs to the Actinopterygii class of animals.

How many sharptail molas are there in the world?

Unfortunately, the accurate population of the sharptail mola (Masturus lanceolatus) cannot be determined as these fishes have not been studied properly.

Where does a sharptail mola live?

The sharptail mola (Masturus lanceolatus) can be found in temperate and tropical regions of the Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean, and Indian Oceans. These sharptail sunfish prefer the epipelagic zone in the sea, but they are rarely found on the surface.

What is a sharptail mola's habitat?

The sharptail mola (Masturus lanceolatus) prefers the temperate and tropical waters across the world. These ocean sunfish can be found in the open waters but sometimes travel down deep in the coral reefs and kelp beds to clear the parasites with the help of wrasses and other small cleaner fishes that can be found in the sea and ocean.

Who do sharptail molas live with?

Sharptail mola (Masturus lanceolatus) fish are solitary in nature, and it is extremely rare to see a sharptail mola with a partner.

How long does a sharptail mola live?

The average lifespan of a female sharptail mola is 105 years, and for males, it is 85 years.

How do they reproduce?

Very little is known about the reproduction of this point-tailed sunfish. The breeding season usually occurs between the month of August and October. Generally, the common mola is one of the most fecund fishes that can lay up to 300 million eggs at a time. The eggs of these fish are very small in size.

What is their conservation status?

Sharptail mola sunfish (Masturus lanceolatus) is listed as a species of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, and there are no special sharptail mola protection efforts due to the vast presence of these fish across the globe.

But in the future, the conservation status of this species may change due to the continuous decline in their number with the increase in consumption.

Sharptail Mola Fun Facts

What do sharptail molas look like?

Sharptail mola sunfish (Masturus lanceolatus) are one of the largest bony fishes. They have a large ovular and compressed body.

These mola sunfish are scaleless and they have rubbery and thick skin with uneven blotches of tubercles on their large bodies. The large sharptail mola does not have a caudal peduncle or caudal fin. Alternatively, these fish have a pruned tail which is called clavus.

The pruned tail is used as a rudder for propulsion, and it stretches from the rear edge of the dorsal fin to the anal fin. The anal fin, compared to the anal fin of other ocean sunfish species, is made up of 14-17 rays, and the dorsal fin has 15-18 rays.

Facts and information about sharptail mola are amusing!We've been unable to source an image of sharptail mola and have used an image of ocean sunfish instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of sharptail mola, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at hello@kidadl.com.

How cute are they?

The sarptail mola sunfish (Masturus lanceolatus) is a large creature that is usually solitary. They have a unique and distinguishing appearance that gives them a grumpy look.

How do they communicate?

Unfortunately, very little is known about the communication and perception of this sharptail marine fish.

How big is a sharptail mola?

The sharptail mola is the largest marine bony fish that can grow up to 11 ft (3.4 m) in length.

How fast can a sharptail mola move?

These large bony fish use their clavus for propulsion, and they can move at a speed of 2 mph (3 kph).

How much does a sharptail mola weigh?

These large tail-less sea creatures are ridiculously heavy, and a fully grown sharptail mola can weigh up to 4,400 lb (1,996 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

No particular name has been assigned to either sex of the species.

What would you call a baby sharptail mola?

No specific name has been assigned to a baby sharptail mola. They are simply called fry like other fish babies.

What do they eat?

Sharptail mola's primary diet consists of jellyfish, salps, ctenophores, and medusae, invertebrates, mollusks, crustaceans, eel larvae, flounders, and seaweed.

Are they poisonous?

No, sharptail mola fish are not poisonous or dangerous at all.

Would they make a good pet?

You cannot keep these giant ocean sunfish as a pet. They are marine fish that grows almost double the size of an average human. These fish need huge space and a diet consisting of jellyfish and small crustaceans.

Did you know...

Sharptail molas love to sunbathe. These fish are found spending half of their day wallowing and dry-heat their body.

Sharptail molas are vulnerable to almost 54 species of parasites, which get cleared by the birds when they are sunbathing in the sea.

The teeth of sharptail mola are intermingled together into two plates, giving them the appearance of a parrot's curvy beak.

In 2004, a sharptail mola was found half a mile offshore of the Gulf of Mexico, and the second time when the same animal was located, it was dead, and the carcass of the sharptail mola was found on the beach.

The sharptail mola skeleton is mostly made up of cartilage.

Due to its large size, this sharptail mola is targeted by predators such as sharkskiller whales, and sea lions.

Do they bite?

No, they do not bite in general. These sharptail molas are docile creatures and do not engage in aggressive behavior towards other fish or humans unless provoked or while preying.

Do humans eat them?

Yes, sharptail molas are considered a delicacy in a few parts of the world, mainly in Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. Japan and Taiwan are the largest markets for the flesh and internal organs of these fish.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our black hagfish facts and snakefish facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable fish coloring pages.

Main image by Nol Aders, modifications by PaladinWhite

We've been unable to source an image of sharptail mola and have used an image of ocean sunfish instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of sharptail mola, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at hello@kidadl.com.

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Written by Georgia Stone

Bachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

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Georgia StoneBachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

Georgia is an experienced Content Manager with a degree in French and Film Studies from King's College London and Bachelors degree from Université Paris-Sorbonne. Her passion for exploring the world and experiencing different cultures was sparked during her childhood in Switzerland and her year abroad in Paris. In her spare time, Georgia enjoys using London's excellent travel connections to explore further afield.

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