Ocean Sunfish: A Really Big Fish in Larchmont?
I received an email from a reader this morning detailing a sighting of a sunfish that he estimated to be 11 feet long. He said he had seen sunfish before past Block Island but never this far up the Long Island Sound. The location of the sighting is Pirates Cove at the back of Larchmont Harbor, which you may be familiar with.
Query: have you seen or heard of anyone else seeing a sunfish in this area or in the interior sections of Long Island Sound?
If yes, have you reports of sunfish of this size?
Obviously my answer was no. But I looked up ocean sunfish (Mola mola) and found the following in A Field Guide to North Atlantic Wildlife (Proctor and Lynch, Yale University Press):
These pelagic giants are unmistakable – massive with a flattened circular body that looks as if it had been cut off in the rear. The mouth is small and the gill opening has been reduced to a mere hole. … Weight: To 2 tons … or more. Size: To 10 ft. long and 11 ft. high.
I’ve asked around already this morning and got a quick answer from Tom Lake, who works for New York State’s Hudson River Estuary Program:
Ocean sunfish (Mola mola) are not common, particularly inshore in our area. I have never heard of one in Long Island Sound.
That doesn't mean they've never been in the Sound, of course, only that an Hudson river expert hasn't heard of it.
If they are not common and not particularly found in the Sound, Pirate's Cove would be an even less likely location. Tucked away at the head of Larchmont Harbor, it is small, shallow and narrow, lined with seawalls, lawns and expensive houses.
Tom Lake suggested further inquiry. Anyone else know about ocean sunfish?