Boulder-sized sunfish washes ashore in Australia

This handout picture taken on March 16 and released courtesy of Linette Grzelak on March 21 shows a sunfish that was washed ashore and found dead in Coorong, near the mouth of the urray River in South Australia. Photo: AFP

SYDNEY: A boulder-sized fish of a kind known to “sink yachts” has washed up on an Australian beach.

The 1.8 metre specimen – believed to be a Mola Mola, or ocean sunfish – came ashore near the mouth of the Murray River in South Australia at the weekend.

The enormous creature is distinct for both its size and peculiar shape featuring a flattened body and fins.

The fish can weigh up to 2,200 kilogrammes according to National Geographic.

A photo circulating on social media showed two people on a beach standing over the giant specimen, which had died.

“The amount of news and media from all over the world wanting to report it has been on another level,” Linette Grzelak, who posted the image to Facebook, told AFP.

“Never expected this.” South Australian Museum fish collection manager Ralph Foster said the fish was actually at the smaller end of the scale for the species.

It earned its name for basking in the sun near the ocean’s surface, but is also known to dive several hundred metres into the depths, he said.

“I’ve actually had a good look at it, we get three species here and this is actually the rarest one in South Australian waters,” Foster told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). – AFP