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The Derpiest fish of the sea - The Mola mola

by Stellarjay


This is for a school presentation. Reviews on word usage and sentence length would be appreciated.

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When you think of a fish, you’ll probably imagine something like a salmon or perch with small fins and big eyes. But what if I told you, not all fish like being “normal”. Meet the sunfish, also known as the Mola mola. These big guys are in the order Tetraodontiformes, their relatives being the pufferfish and triggerfish. They are arguably one of the most derpy fish in the ocean. They are lazy, parasitic ridden sunbathers that can be found all over the world. And they certainly aren’t what you think they are.

The Mola mola are unique in their own way. They can weigh up to 4,000 lbs and will grow to be 3.3 metres long. Their bodies are bullet shaped and flattened. The skin is rough and covered in mucus. The fins of these guys are interesting, the back fin, which doesn’t look like a fin at all, is called the clavus. There are two smaller fins on the side of its body and two additional fins on the top and bottom of the body. That's not all, their teeth have been fused together, making them look like a beak. In all, their characteristics aren’t advantageous in the least.

The Mola mola’s behavior is, at times, mysterious and funny. They will travel long distances for reasons unknown. Scientists have also noted how they will sometimes travel down 560 ft, they speculate that this is because of the deep scattering layer which is rich in food. The Mola mola live in temperate to tropical regions in the open ocean and can be seen sunbathing. Other than that the Mola mola are friendly and lazy creatures.

You may be asking yourselves, why do the Mola mola sunbath? Well, they do this because they are inherently lazy, letting sea gulls and hagfish eat off their parasites. While most fish just eat other fish or particles floating about, the Mola mola decided to be, yet again, “unique”. So, they developed a particular liking for equally derpy jellyfish. On the other hand, their predators are a little more ferocious. Seals like the easy meal. But despite all that, they aren’t known, as of now, to be endangered. Mola molas aren’t normal in any way and that's the fun thing about them.


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Mon Jun 07, 2021 11:29 pm
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ShadowVyper wrote a review...



HELLO! If you say the word "fish", I must come. It's the law ;)

Also, on that note, this review might be a little bit nitpicky but it's intended to help not discourage ^-^

Meet the sunfish, also known as the Mola mola.


Two things:

1) It's the Ocean sunfish, which is an important distinction to make. "Sunfish" in general refers to a freshwater genus of fish (Lepomis, if you're interested) which are very different. So, it's important to specify that you're talking about Ocean sunfish

2) If this is for a presentation then this is a non-issue, but if you're turning it in, then the genus and species of scientific names should be italicized. So it should be Mola mola if you're turning in a written version of this.

The fins of these guys are interesting, the back fin, which doesn’t look like a fin at all, is called the clavus. There are two smaller fins on the side of its body and two additional fins on the top and bottom of the body.


This is a bit clunky, and also not super clear. For example, by "back fin" I wasn't quite sure if you mean the back of the fish or "back" as in terms of the tail. Upon googling (not a master in this group of fish aha) I found that the clavus is the tail fin (not on the fish's back, which is called a dorsal fin).

I'm not quite sure how to explain this via text without it getting too confusing, so I'm going to include a diagram that hopefully helps:

Image

How I would personally explain this, if I were giving the presentation, would be something like:

The tail is an odd-looking fin called a clavus. They also have two large fins on the top and bottom of the fish, called the dorsal and anal fin, respectively. Additionally, they have a pair of pectoral fins near the center of their body.

Or something like that, does that make sense? I'm not sure what sorts of visuals you're allowed to have or what grade you're in for how technical this needs to be, but even something like...

Instead of a tail, they have an odd-looking fin called a clavus. They have a large fin on their top and bottom called the dorsal and anal fins. And a pair of fins -- one on either side -- called pectoral fins.

Does that make sense? Just try to be a bit clearer. Ocean sunfish are particularly hard to tell orientation with since they're basically just giant pancakes, but try to be a bit more specific by what you mean about "back" and "sides" to be sure you're saying what you mean to be.

You may be asking yourselves, why do the Mola mola sunbath?


Insanely small nitpick here since I'm again not sure if you have to turn in the essay or not, but it should be "sunbathe" not "sunbath" if you have to turn this in ^^

You may be asking yourselves, why do the Mola mola sunbath? Well, they do this because they are inherently lazy, letting sea gulls and hagfish eat off their parasites. While most fish just eat other fish or particles floating about, the Mola mola decided to be, yet again, “unique”. So, they developed a particular liking for equally derpy jellyfish.


Be careful with anthropomorphisms (aka giving human attributes to animals). I don't think it's a huge deal here, especially since I don't know your grade (i.e., I would be stricter with a college student than I would a high schooler than I would a middle schooler, etc.).

But most of what you're talking about are just adaptations, not necessarily "laziness" or them "deciding" to do anything. For example, the bite about with the seagulls and hagfish is called "mutualism" which is where two organisms help each other out, i.e., the ocean sunfish gets its parasites removed and the other animals get food. This is a pretty common phenomenon seen in nature with a lot of different organisms.

I'd also say maybe something like "While most fish eat other fish or particles floating about, the Mola mola has developed a specialization for preying upon jellyfish" or something like that. Does that make sense? Sorry if this is overly technical. I promise I'm not trying to be obnoxious xD Just trying to help, and you can feel free to discard whatever is not useful to your specific situation ^-^

Also, OH MY GOSH IS THAT PICTURE A BABY MOLA? I didn't know that I needed this in my life, but I absolutely did! IT'S SO CUTE OMIGOSH <3 be still my heart

Okay, ahem, we're good now.

You might want to add a note about what the picture is depicting, though, to be clearer about what it is and why you included it.

Overall, absolutely amazing essay! I had such a good time reading and reviewing this, and I wish you all the best in your presentation! You picked a cool fish and pointed out a bunch of "fun facts" about it -- which is honestly the key to effective science communication. You just have to find facts that will interest people in what you have to say, and I think you did an awesome job with that here!

I hope that at least some of my overly eager science ramblings were helpful xD

Good luck!

~Shady




Stellarjay says...


tysm for the review!!! <3 It is extremely helpful!



ShadowVyper says...


<3



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Mon Jun 07, 2021 10:00 pm
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Book_Dragon wrote a review...



Hello! Book_Dragon here for a review.

First of all, good luck on the project. This is very nice, and I hope you do well. Your sentence lengths are pretty good, along with everything else. Be careful not to go overboard with the commas, though!

There are only a few things I would change. First of all, when you put a word in quotations, make sure to put the period inside the marks. For instance: "normal." and "unique." Secondly, consider changing this sentence:

"The fins of these guys are interesting, the back fin, which doesn’t look like a fin at all, is called the clavus."

I would make it two separate sentences, putting a period after "the fins on these guys are interesting." You could then say "for example," or leave it like that. I would also get rid of the sentence "that's not all" because you say "in all" at the next sentence.

The only other thing I have to say is optional, since I don't know your teacher's rubric. This would be considered an informal essay, based off your word choices. For example, "these big guys." If you wanted/needed to make this more formal, I would change some of those words.

That is all. Excellent job! You have a good first paragraph, and the last sentence is a good conclusion. Again, I hope you do well on this.

-BD




Stellarjay says...


Thanks for the review! <3




A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.
— Oscar Wilde