Further to Sunfish sightings in South Australia by Dan Monceaux in 2014, the Slender sunfish (Ranzania laevis) said to have been found on Aldinga Beach on 15th July 1944 was, according to Trove, actually found on 15th June (by a Mr. G. McDonald).

As stated, the specimen was identified in 2009 by Ralph Foster, the collection manager of Fishes at the SA Museum, after being inferred from a cast found (in storage) at Netley.

According to the webpage found at https://academic-accelerator.com/encyclopedia/slender-sunfish , “The first South Australian specimen (of the elongated sunfish, Ranzania laevis) was found at Aldinga in 1944. A mold was then made, a replica made, painted and ready to be exhibited at the Art Gallery of South Australia. museum that year.”

It seems that this is a photo of that replica: –

Replica of the elongated sunfish, Ranzania laevis found at Aldinga in 1944?

(Source: https://academic-accelerator.com/encyclopedia/slender-sunfish )

We now have further details regarding the Slender sunfish (Ranzania laevis) specimen that was found dead on Aldinga Beach by Mrs E. M. Bradley on 23rd July 1969.

Mrs Bradley found the dead specimen on the beach at 7.30am. The SA Museum’s Discovery Centre team tell us that it is museum record number SAMA F5271 (family = MOLIDAE, family number = 470).

The Slender sunfish found dead on Aldinga Beach by Mrs E. M. Bradley

(Photo courtesy of Mara Seton from her late husband Doug Seton’s collection)

A cast was made of the specimen. We have two photos (of the cast?), courtesy of Mara Seton. It came from her late husband George (Doug) Seton’s collection. Doug was once an assistant manager for the Discovery Centre at the SA Museum.

SA Museum staff member(?)* holding (the cast of?) the Slender sunfish that she found on Aldinga Beach

(Photo courtesy of Mara Seton from her late husband Doug Seton’s collection

* (I had earlier suggested that the person shown above holding (the cast of?) the Slender sunfish may have been Mrs EM Bradley who had found the fish dead on Aldinga Beach. I have since received some evidence suggesting that the person is possibly Miss Lyn Jones who apparently worked at the SA Museum back then.)

According to the web page found at https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/technology/science/never-expected-this-aussies-inundated-with-attention-after-rare-sea-creature-discovery/news-story/4d033c36f57dbb85d42df98d685f2374 , a 1.8 metre ocean sunfish, Mola mola, was found onshore in the Coorong, near the mouth of the Murray River in South Australia in March 2019.

The partner of Linette Grzelak said that he spotted the dead sunfish while out fishing. Linette posted photos of the sunfish to Facebook. Details can be found at https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/technology/science/never-expected-this-aussies-inundated-with-attention-after-rare-sea-creature-discovery/news-story/4d033c36f57dbb85d42df98d685f2374 .

The sunfish washed ashore and was found dead in the Coorong,

near the mouth of the Murray River in South Australia.

(Picture: Linette Grzelak)

We will endeavour to post the above-mentioned sightings of beach-washed sunfish on iNaturalist. (Well, we tried, but we were rejected, so all three postings were deleted.)

Sunfish have been discussed in several of the blogs on our website. The most relevant ones other than Sunfish sightings in South Australia are:

A Summary of Recent Sunfish Sightings in the Encounter Bay/Waitpinga Cliffs Area and Sunfish sightings in the Encounter Bay/Waitpinga Cliffs area (Updated).

By Steve Reynolds

Steve Reynolds is the current President of MLSSA and is a long-standing member of the Society. Steve is a keen diver, underwater explorer, photographer and is chief author of the Society's extensive back catalogue of newsletters and journals.

  1. Thanks again Steve,
    Gotta love the 2019 photo of the whopper!
    I remember seeing that photo or one like it in The Advertiser or Sunday Mail, but had forgotten just how massive it was.
    And I’m delighted that MLSSA will endeavour to submit this 2019 record to inaturalist. So important!!

  2. Sorry to hear that we were unsuccessful in submitting those observations to inaturalist. Seems unfair, but I must admit that I never understand the behind the scenes machinations inherent in such procedures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *