The ocean sunfish Mola mola: Insights into distribution, abundance and behaviour in the Irish and Celtic Seas

  • Houghton J
  • Doyle T
  • Davenport J
 et al. 
  • 67


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 27


    Citations of this article.


Here we provide baseline data on the distribution and abundance of Mola mola within the Irish and Celtic Seas, made during aerial surveys fromJune to October during 2003^2005. These data were consid- ered in conjunction with concurrent observations of three potential jelly¢sh prey species found throughout the region: Rhizostoma octopus, Chrysaora hysoscella and Cyanea capillata. Atotal area of 7850 km2was surveyed over the three years with an observed abundance of 68 sun¢sh giving a density of 0.98 ind/100 km2. Although modest, these ¢ndings highlight that the species is more common than once thought around Britain and Ireland and an order of magnitude greater than the other apex jelly¢sh predator found in the region, the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). Furthermore, the distribution of sun¢sh sightings was inconsistent with the extensive aggregations of Rhizostoma octopus found throughout the study area. The modelled distributions of predator^prey co-occurrence (using data for all three jelly¢sh species) was less than the observed co-occurrence with the implication that neither jelly¢sh nor sun¢sh were randomly distributed but co-occurred more in the same areas than expected by chance. Finally, observed sun¢sh were typically small (1m or less) and seen to either bask or actively swim at the surface.

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free