|The very elusive Humboldt squid.|
|The mola mola sunfish.|
The mola mola is one of 3 species of sunfish. I've personally never seen such a marine animal quite like it. They are called many different names; the French call them moon fish, the Germans the swimming head, and the Taiwanese even call it the toppled car fish. I like the swimming head name the best! The mola mola is considered the largest bony fish in the world, weighing up to over 2 tons. Its skin feels like sandpaper (like a ray or a shark), but covered in a layer of slimy mucus. The mola mola is actually the most common species of sunfish; its cousins are very rare and seldom seen by humans. Their skin can be completely white, to freckled, to strikingly spotted patterns. These fish become extremely infested with parasites as well. They will invite other smaller fish and even birds to come onto their skin and eat the parasites. Some people have even seen them breaching to shake the pests. Now that'd be a sight to see. Their diet consists of jellyfish, algae, and other small planktonic organisms. Obviously they swim extremely awkwardly. I mean, come on, just look at their appearance! I would definitely call these guys gentle giants. No attacks on humans have ever been recorded. They are more curious than anything, readily approaching divers. I would love to swim with one someday.
|A flying fish, well, flying.|
We've all heard of them at least once in our lives. I didn't know that they actually existed until a few years ago; I thought it was all just stories. These fish don't literally fly, however. Sorry to burst your bubble! They glide over the water more than anything. They can get enough height and speed to regularly land on ship decks, though. Just imagine sailing on a yacht in the middle of the ocean and all of the sudden it starts raining fish. Now that's what I call a vacation. Anyway, these fish have diet of mainly plankton and other small organisms. There are about 40 different species of flying fish, and they aren't endangered or anything like that. To "fly," they will build up a lot of speed in the water (over 30 mph) right before they break through the water's surface. Once they break through, they sort of wiggle their tail back and forth to gain speed. The longest recorded "flight time" for a flying fish is just over 1,300 feet. What a distance!
The ocean is full of mystery and wonder. So many gorgeous and fascinating creatures cover this planet and fill its seas; we are so fortunate to have this much knowledge about our world. I believe we will never fully realize the extent of the ocean's diversity in my lifetime, or maybe even ever.
God's creation, not only in the ocean but in general, is so interesting and telling of His power. It sounds weird, but learning about this earth and its biological contents can be a form of worship. Just sitting back and seeing how many wonderful things He has made really puts life into perspective. I must be a legitimate science nerd if I'm worshiping through it!
Just think about it. Wouldn't it be something if we came to know the full extent of the living things in the seas of mystery?