Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Journal of Marine Sciences
Article ID 8750193
Ocean sunfishes, Molidae, comprise the world’s heaviest bony fishes. They include the short mola, Mola ramsayi (Giglioli 1883), an important tourist draw at Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan, Bali, where SCUBA divers can observe ectoparasite-laden individuals being cleaned by smaller reef fishes. Despite widespread appeal, little is known about these fishes relative to regional oceanography. We present the first behavioral information for this species anywhere in the world. Satellite tag data indicate a wide thermal range (10–27.5°C) with depth occupation mostly (95%) in the upper 250 m and habitat preference near the bottom of the warm surface layer. One tag popped off as scheduled after 6 months off Nusa Penida, deployment; 142 km south after 7 days of deployment; and 162 km south after 24 days of deployment. Amid mounting tourist pressures and bycatch of M. ramsayi in eastern regions of Indonesia, such as Alor, behavioral information of this species is essential for effective management and conservation of this valuable marine ecotourism asset.
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Thys, Tierney; Ryan, John P.; Weng, Kevin C.; Erdmann, Mark; and Tresnati, Joeharnani, Tracking a Marine Ecotourism Star: Movements of the Short Ocean Sunfish Mola ramsayi in Nusa Penida, Bali, Indonesia (2016). Journal of Marine Sciences, 2016(Article ID 8750193).