Juvenile Slender Sunfish, Ranzania laevis Click to enlarge image
A school of juvenile Slender Sunfish photographed at night on the 'Pelagic Magic' dive, off Kona, Hawaii, 26 March 2009. Image: Matthew D'Avella
© Matthew D'Avella

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    laevis
    Genus
    Ranzania
    Family
    Molidae
    Order
    Tetraodontiformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    It grows to 90 cm total length.

Introduction

As its name suggests, the Slender Sunfish is the most elongate species of sunfish. Surprisingly, it is quite a swift swimmer.

Identification

The Slender Sunfish is a distinctively shaped fish. Like the other species of sunfishes, the species lacks a true tail, and instead has a clavus.

The fish is silver coloured, often darker blue above, with blue, grey, brownish or green stripes and dots above and dark stripes from below the eye to the ventral surface.

Habitat

The Slender Sunfish is an oceanic species.

Distribution

It occurs worldwide in most tropical and temperate marine waters. In Australia it is known from northen Queensland, south to Tasmania and west to the south-western coast of Western Australia.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Ozcam map of Slender Sunfish specimens in the Australian Museum. http://ozcam.ala.org.au/occurrences/search?q=Ranzania%20laevis&zoom=off#mapView

Other behaviours and adaptations

It is a relatively fast swimming, schooling species.

References

  1. Gomon, M.F., Bray, D. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 2008. The Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Reed New Holland. Pp. 928.