The corpse of a fish was found in the Azores.

The record is broken by a sunfish. The fish weighed in at just more than three tons and had a truncated back fin. The previous record holder was a sunfish that tipped the scales at more than 2.5 tons.

Chris Harrod, an aquatic ecologist who was not involved in the discovery but has studied ocean sunfish, says the new record may have been even heavier in life. The strange, wheel-shaped fish are found in tropical and temperate oceans around the world. Harrod says they are a bit alien.


Without genetic analysis, it can be hard to tell apart the three sunfish. There were chin bumps on the new specimen. The identity was confirmed by a genetic analysis. The Ocean Sunfishes: Evolution says that Mola are known for their dramatic growth curve: When they hatch, they weigh only 3.7 grams, but they quickly grow to be the largest fish in the sea. The new world record is 700 million times larger than the previous one.

The size and thickness of the sunfish protects it from being eaten. She says that bigger fish can lay more eggs and Mola females can release a lot of them at a time.

The new record-breaking sunfish was 10.66 feet (3.25 meters) long and 11.78 feet (3.59 m) tall. Scientists had to use a forklift and crane to weigh it after it was found dead and afloat on Faial Island. Scientists don't know if the fish was killed by a boat strike or a postmortem injury.

Despite the fish's death, it is heartening to know that sunfish can reach such a large size in the wild. She thinks it is a sign that we still have big animals that can cause awe.