A rare species of giant sunfish, never previously documented in the Northern Hemisphere, recently washed up at a UC Santa Barbara beach reserve.
The rare species was first described in 2017, and UC Santa Barbara researchers confirmed the identification with the Australian scientist who discovered it.
“It really was exciting to collect the photos and samples knowing that it could potentially be such an extraordinary sighting,” said Jessica Nielsen, a conservation specialist at Coal Oil Point. “Mola tecta was just recently discovered so there is still so much to learn about this species.”
It is unclear how the Mola tecta ended up so far from its known range in the Southern Hemisphere.
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