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Evolution Acts on the Phenotype

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Here Comes The Sunfish
Teacher Contributed

Here Comes The Sunfish

Topic

Sunfish

Student Exploration

That's 2.5 Tons of Fish!

How much is 2.5 tons of fish? Well, a Toyota Prius is 1.5 tons if that gives you some perspective. Now, when I say 2.5 tons of fish, I am not talking about fish as in plural, as in a pile of fish; I am talking 2.5 tons of fish as in one single adult Mola mola or Oceanic Sunfish

When some people see a Mola mola they comment it looks like something prehistoric, a hold-out from a lost age. But actually the first fish appears in the fossil record 500 million years ago, and most of the "modern" fish today appear as part of an adaptive radiation 100 million years ago. The Mola mola? It may be as recent as 40 million years ago. A baby (as far as fish species go), rather than being prehistoric (which technically it is), Mola mola are one of the most "modern" fish species out there. Go here to find out more about the Mola mola *http://oceansunfish.org/Rev%20Fish%20Biol%202010.pdf

Extension Investigation

Use the resources below to answer the following questions:

  1. Geographically, where in the oceans do you find Mola mola?
  2. What has happened to the teeth of the Mola mola?
  3. How do the Mola mola's teeth reflect what they eat?
  4. How might the heavy parasite loads of the Mola mola be explained by their diet?

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