March 2018

March 2018


A Mola kind of Monday


Written by: Clare-Anne Canfield  
Published: 2018-03-19  

Written by: Clare-Anne Canfield

Published: 2018-03-19  


Ocean sunfish at Monterey Bay Aquarium. He could eat those kids, just sayin'. Photo Credit: Fred Hsu

The Molidae family is considered the world's largest bony fish and they're all a bit secretive. They enjoy eating jellyfish and basking on their side near the surface of the ocean, hence how they got the name "sunfish."

Ocean sunfish (Mola mola) are giants of the sea. The largest known was  over 14 feet long and 5,000 pounds. NOAA researchers say that ocean sunfish are a rare treat to see and there's still a lot we just don't know about them. One rather large mystery is their longevity, we currently have no idea how long these fish live.
Oh don't mind me, just basking in the sun to warm up after a day of diving for jellyfish. Photo Credit: Allan Hack

Their cousin, the sharptail mola can live up to 105 years or longer and can grow to be over 4,000 pounds! That's a lot of jellyfish.

Even more fun is another species of mola that was recently discovered in Indonesia, the hoodwinker sunfish (Mola tecta) and they too reach giant proportions. Still no word on longevity, but it's likely these giants enjoy a long lifespan.

There's also the southern ocean sunfish and the slender sunfish, but tracking down longevity information is a challenge.

Enjoy your Mola Monday!




The Florida sky just got a little more beautiful. Welcome back, Swallow-tailed Kites.


Written by: John Canfield and Clare-Anne Canfield  
Published: 2018-03-05  

Written by: John Canfield and Clare-Anne Canfield

Published: 2018-03-05  


This is one of my favorite times of the year . . . the Swallow-tailed Kites are finally making their way back to Florida from their winter home in South America. 
Welcome home. Photo Credit: Clare-Anne Canfield

If you're in Florida, take a look towards the sky the next time you are outside. You just may catch a glimpse of this magnificent bird.
You can probably see why they are named 'Swallow-tailed Kite'. Photo Credit: Clare-Anne Canfield

A pair of Kites. Photo Credit: Clare-Anne Canfield

If you want to know more about these beautiful raptors, check out my entry welcoming them back last year. In the meantime, here are a few facts to get you familiar with these lovely birds.
  • The birds arriving in the U.S. have just completed a roughly 5,000 mile migration from South America. 
  • These kites 'hunt on the wing', meaning they catch and eat their prey without landing.
  • They often pair up with their mate within only a week or so of arriving back in the U.S. 
  • Males and females contribute to nest building, many times building in the top of the tallest tree on the edge of open woodlands or in a small stand of trees. 
  • They are the coolest raptor. Okay, that may not be a fact but . . . actually, yeah, it is a fact.
Seeing this lovely bird perched was a treat since they are often spotted soaring in the wind. Photo Credit: Clare-Anne Canfield