Large, lazy and very strange-looking – meet the ocean sunfish. This extraordinary animal is certainly very peculiarly-proportioned. Tall but vertically flattened, with a pale, circular body that seems to end abruptly behind its huge dorsal and anal fins, the sunfish almost looks as though it is simply a massive severed head with a short, frilly tail attached.
To celebrate International Whale Shark Day, The Nature Nook will be taking a brief look at these amazing aquatic leviathans. Not only is the whale shark the biggest species of shark in the world, it also happens to be the biggest of all the planet’s approximately 34,000 species of fish and the largest living non-mammalian vertebrate. Capable of reaching 12 m in length – double that of a great white shark – and weighing up to 21 tonnes, the whale shark easily rivals many prehistoric dinosaurs in size. In the modern era, only a few whales grow larger.