Giant sunfish discovered in Atlantic is the heaviest bony fish at around 3 tons

A monster sunfish, tipping the scales at nearly 3 tonnes was found floating dead off the shore of Portugal in the Atlantic. It has been discovered to be the world’s heaviest bony fish ever seen. Although the oceanic behemoth was discovered on the 9th of December last year, near Faial Island, in the Azores details of the discovery were recently published in the Journal of Fish Biology which brought it into the limelight.

The local authorities took the mortal remains of the aquatic animal back to the port in order to conduct a proper study on it. Researchers from Atlantic Naturalist Association and the Azores University studied the carcass and collected more data on it. When discovered, the humongous fish was weighed, measured, and the tissue sample was taken for DNA testing.

Reportedly, the carcass of the fish weighed about 6,050 pounds. This makes it several pounds heavier than the previous world record holder for heaviest bony fish which was a female sunfish caught off Kamogawa in Japan in the year 1996. This also puts it in the same weight class as a Hummer or a rhinoceros!

The Azores sunfish was weighed with a crane scale dynamometer after being raised above ground using a forklift truck. The dynamometer is a device designed to weigh loads typically hoisted by a crane. The fish was 10.67 feet long and had a height of 11.78 feet.

Although the reason for the death of the marine behemoth is unclear, it is speculated that it could have been inflicted by the keel of a boat. The conclusion was made after a close observation of the wound suffered by the fish which marked the cylindrical dent on its head with red paint.

José Nuno Gomes-Pereira, the lead author of the paper and postdoctoral researcher from the Atlantic Naturalist Association, told CNN Tuesday that it was saddening “to see the animal in this situation as it must have been a king of open ocean.”

The “tremendously big” sunfish has been buried in the Natural Park of Faial Island, he added.

There are two types of fish, cartilaginous and bony. Bony fish account for the majority of fish, according to Gomes-Pereira — think carp, salmon, and bass. Cartilaginous fish have skeletons made of cartilage and encompass species like sharks and stingrays.

Giant sunfish were first recognized as their own species in 2018 and are known to weigh twice as much as the second heaviest fish species, the ocean sunfish, according to a news release from the Atlantic Naturalist Association last Thursday.

According to the Guinness World Records, the world’s heaviest fish species is the whale shark, with the heaviest found in Pakistan in 1949, weighing 21.5 metric tons.

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