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Subject: Re: Mola mola migrations
From: Rodney Rountree <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 19 Aug 2000 15:25:08 -0400

text/plain (36 lines)


I have always wondered if sunfish floated on their sides to either mimic
floating flotsam for predator avoidance or to attract prey.  A lot of
oceanic fishes are attracted to flotsam, jellyfish, and large slow moving
animals for various reasons ranging from predator protection, prey
attraction, supernormal schooling companion, shade, etc..  Coral snakes have
been described as mimicking flotsam to prey on the attracted fishes.  A
number of fishes are known to float on their sides to mimic flotsam (e.g.,
trippletail, leatherjackets, wreckfish), but often this is a juvenile
behavior.  Adult mola obviously are not mimicking mangrove leaves!  The few
descriptions of Mola diets that I'm aware of describe primarily jellyfish
prey, so Mola is not likely to use the behavior to attract fishes.  However,
I still suspect that the behavior is normal and does not result from
"chilling" in northern waters.  The few times that I've seen Molas they at
first behaved as described but upon close approach righted themselves and
swam rapidly off.  A colleague of mine swears that he has seen adult Mola
breaching off Long Island.

Rodney Rountree, Ph.D.
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Dept. Natural Resources Conservation
48 Oregon Rd.
Mashpee, MA 02649
(508) 477-5140
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