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.
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