Ear: Mola mola

It turns out that in late September, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife issued a "Strange Fish Alert" … for an ocean sunfish, aka mola mola, swimming happily around in the Otter Rock and Cape Falcon marine reserves. 

What's strange is that more often than not, we see these tropical gentle giants — which can reach 11 feet — dead on the beach, not alive and well. 

There's a short video of the critter here: bit.ly/ODFWmola (a screen shot is shown). Sunfish were spotted off the central Oregon coast, as well.

Why were they here? The ODFW figures they were riding the warmer water currents that were near shore at the time.

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or ewilson@dailyastorian.com.

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