Do you know how much your car weighs? No? Me neither. (Or is it me either?) I mean who knows those kinds of things?! Oh, wait … you do know? Well, aren’t you clever.
The average car weighs a little more than 4,000 pounds, or two tons. (One ton is 2,000 pounds—look, you learned something today. You’re welcome.) Any idea how much a great white shark weighs? (Yes, I am going somewhere with this.) About 2,000 pounds, give or take a mere 500 pounds. A lion, more than 400 pounds. An elephant … well, it depends on the kind of elephant, but an Asian elephant tips the scale around 12,000 pounds, or 6 tons.
So, imagine the sunfish … the ocean sunfish not the sunfish by any other name like bluegill, bream, pond perch, etc. Any idea how big the ocean sunfish is? No? Oh, good … then you’ll learn something else today …
The ocean sunfish typically tips the scale at a little over 2,000 pounds!
A new species weighing over two tons has been discovered and researchers have dubbed the giant fish, the “Hoodwinker” due to its elusiveness. The name, derived from the Latin word “tectus,” meaning disguised or hidden, fits the solitary animal’s lifestyle but considering its range and size, it’s hard to imagine it will dupe mankind for much longer.
Oh wait … that’s the point of this post … it’s not duping us so much anymore. In fact, it’s been spotted as recently as last year near in the Galapagos Norther Bay of Hood Island and has since been spotted near New Zealand, South Africa and even southern Chili. And why do we care? Because although it’s exciting to have identified a new species (it’s been over 130 years), thee reason we’re able to identify it is because it’s moving into territories where it’s never been. And the reason species move from one place to another isn’t so they can have a new “house” new neighbors or a walk-in closet, it’s because they NEED to move.
“When you have a new species appearing in waters where it hasn’t been before its often indicative of a changing environment … changing very rapidly due to all of our impacts.” ~ Tierney Thys PhD Marine Biologist and Emerging Explorer
In other words, years of over fishing and unsustainable practices have altered the oceans so much that fish are moving. And that’s not a good thing.
So what can we do about it? Stop littering in the oceans. Stop the using single-use water bottles. Stop being ignorant about the seafood you eat and start asking questions. Start recycling more. Start frequenting restaurants and grocery chains that purchase seafood from reliable sources—those that are certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council and or the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch.
Learn more about Marianne Nyegaard, a PHD student from Murdoch University in Perth, and her discovery of the massive Hoodwinker in this article by National Geographic.
And come back tomorrow to learn more about the sunfish species and which ones people catch, and cook, here in the Midwest.
Photo Credit: By Per-Ola Norman
DISCLAIMER: I’m a writer and an editor. And I try my best to make sure every post is articulate and free from errors. However, being that I edit my own work—and it’s next to impossible to properly edit your own work—I admit, occasionally there may be an error or two I miss. But doing so doesn’t make me an idiot so don’t be mean. Just smile, pat yourself on the back for finding an error and be glad you’re not the only one who makes mistakes sometimes … yes, even mermaids slip up every now and then. xoxox