Ralph Foster faces the media about Sunfish

On 16 March 2019 Jacob Jones and Craig Tarry photographed a sunfish washed up on the beach near the mouth of the Murray River, South Australia.
Word got out about the fish and Ralph Foster the local expert who works at the South Australian Museum was swamped with calls. View article on the ABC News site.
The fish was identified as an Ocean Sunfish, Mola mola. Ralph stated ""I've had a good look at it, we get three species here and this is actually the rarest one in South Australian waters," The other two are the Bump-head Sunfish, Mola alexandrini and the Hoodwinker Sunfish, Mola tecta. Ralph estimated that the fish was about 1.8 metres long. He stated, "this particular sunfish was on the smaller end of the scale in terms of size".
In her comment on the page, world Sunfish expert Marianne Nyegaard stated, "This is definitely Mola mola. Eye-balling it my guess is that it would cluster with the Pacific clade genetically, however there is at present no documented, official way of morphologically distinguishing the two genetic clades of Mola mola (Atlantic/Indian Ocean and Pacific)."
Thank you all for your contributions to this important observation.
Posted by markmcg markmcg, April 11, 2019 06:03

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Cheers Mark. One correction - it's Mola alexandrini we have here in SA, not Mastrurus. I was so often misquoted in the various reports that I gave up trying to keep track. Apparently I stated that they can get to 4 metres long etc etc.... The South Australian Museum just received a complaint from a US resident about a CNN report about this fish where I'm quoted as saying that Mola mola was only discovered in 2017 and is a surprising find here because it was thought to be restricted to the Southern Hemisphere (doh!). It seems parts of the California M. tecta story, of a couple of months ago, were recycled to produce, like the complainant said, "complete unadulterated tripe" or what others might simply label "fake nooz". It confirmed my prejudice that the media is best avoided.

Posted by rfoster almost 2 years ago (Flag)
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Hi @rfoster. Thanks for your comments. I've replaced Masturus lanceolatus with Mola alexandrini. I notice that according to the AFD M. lanceolatus does occur in SA.

I hear you about being misquoted by the media. It's sad how often it happens and makes you wonder how much of the news in general is inaccurate. Either way, the ABC story is a good one.

Posted by markmcg almost 2 years ago (Flag)
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nicely done guys! before this article i thought mola mola only exist in tropical waters

Do we have manta rays?

Posted by aliens almost 2 years ago (Flag)
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Hi @aliens. I don't believe mantas are known from SA waters. 🙂

Posted by markmcg almost 2 years ago (Flag)

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