Published August 2, 2021 | Bali, Conservation, Dive Sites, Diving, Fish, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida

Ocean Sunfish or Mola, weird fun facts and its difference?

Find out the fun facts and differences of the Ocean Sunfish a.k.a. Mola to plan your next dive trip. Witnessing this enormous and strange-looking fish underwater should be on your scuba diving bucket list. At first sight, you’ll think of it as a big swimming dinosaur. But what is it? And how do we call it? Ocean Sunfish or Mola Mola? Where can you find them? Are there more species?

A lot of questions, and we try to answer them all for you! Important though knowing these weird fun facts and the difference between an Ocean Sunfish or Mola, it is way more fun diving with them! Honestly, put it on your bucket list to dive with a Mola! When diving with it you realise that it is a very big fish with a strange shape and very big eyes (staring at you). But even though it might be a bit funny looking, it remains one of the sea’s most spectacular creatures.

ocean sunfish mola underwater

Meet the Ocean Sunfish, a.k. the Mola underwater while scuba diving.

Let’s get you your answers about the Ocean Sunfish and plan your next dive trip with Scuba Center Asia Lembongan. Your chance to dive with the famous Ocean Sunfish, a.k.a. Mola and explore the unique dive sites of Nusa Lembongan and Penida, Bali.

Three fun facts you didn’t know about the Ocean Sunfish.

Fun fact 1: The Ocean Sunfish, a.k.a Mola name is after the sun, why is that?

At first sight of the Mola, you think that it is its round shape that looks like the sun. But it’s actually because it is a keen sunbather:

  • This big fish is swimming at depths of 200 meters, where the water temperature drops to around 4-5 degrees. So being at that depth for some time explains that it needs some sunbathing and to warm up its body.
  • While sunbathing at the surface, seagulls help the Mola mola get rid of parasites. In other words, a proper Spa-day!Plus the shape of the Ocean Sunfish looks like a little sun!

Fun fact 2: A jumping Mola Mola?

Imagine, you are relaxing after your first dive at Crystal Bay on the boat. A nice ocean breeze makes your hair dance in the sun and you are holding a nice cup of coffee. A giant round-looking fish jumps more than a half meter in the air next to you…. Say hi to the famous Mola!

A jumping Mola? Does that exist? The answer is yes!

The reason that they jump is that it tries to splash the parasites off its skin. This is one of the reasons the Mola comes to shallow waters like Crystal Bay. Another reason is that Crystal Bay neighbours a deep channel where the Mola Mola can is at depth. During the period April-September we have regular sightings of the Mola! This is because of upwelling. In other words, colder waters from the deep come to a shallower depth. This is when you as a scuba diver can actually meet them underwater while diving! The dive sites Crystal bay and Toyapakeh in Nusa Penida are famous! These are the cleaning stations, where Bannerfish gathers, to clean the Ocean Sunfish. That makes Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida the ideal diving spot for seeing the Mola.

two mola mola scuba diving

Two or more Mola Mola while diving happens in Mola season!

Fun fact 3: The Mola as a Jellyfish consumer.

The Mola loves to eat jellyfish, lots of them! On a daily basis, they are busy with a searching strategy to consume large amounts of jellyfish. Jellyfish are low in calories and nutrients, so the Mola needs to consume a whole lot to get enough. As a part of a searching strategy to find the jellyfish, the Mola has the same migrating journey as a jellyfish.

diver underwater diving looking at jellyfish

Diver looking at jellyfish while diving.

Their diet isn’t only based on jellyfish but it proves to be way more diverse according to new studies. Our dive guides and instructors of Scuba Center Asia can tell you all about the Mola! Make sure you ask about the Mola details when you book your next diving trip with us.

What is the actual difference between the Ocean Sunfish and the Mola mola?

In different studies of the Ocean Sunfish family, there are three different species.

  1.  The Ocean Sunfish is also known as the Mola Mola.
  2. The Mola Alexandrini or Southern Sunfish. This is the one you can find here diving in Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida.
  3. The Mola Tecta is also known as the Hoodwinker Sunfish.

They vary a bit in appearance but they all have a circular shape in common. There are a lot of myths and legends about the Mola and why their different names occurred. Because the Mola spends most of their lifetime on deep depths, it is hard for humans to study them in-depth. Diving with us in Lembongan in the period April – September will almost guarantee you of seeing a Mola! If you dive many days that is! But then again, there is also a huge luck factor and timing the right place and time for a dive. They are there! Imagine you do your Divemaster course with us. You will stay and do your diving training with us, you will guarantee to see them more than once!

Diving with the Mola after reading this blog.

If you got hooked and want to scuba dive with the Mola after reading this blog. Contact Scuba Center Asia Lembongan. The best dive sites are Toyapakeh, Crystal Bay and a few other dive sites on the north coast of Nusa Penida. When you book your next dive trip, mention you like to dive with the Mola! The team of Scuba Center Asia Lembongan will go over your best options to make this dream happen!