Chuck ’em out into the big wide world!

You are in good company here. A massive 75% of my audience wanted nothing to do with their hypothetical kids… “just chuck ’em”, they thought. She’ll be right.

While lots of animals perform no parental care, I never need an excuse to talk about this next animal…

The Mola mola or ocean sunfish (Mola mola)

These fish are pretty strange. They look like a floating head and can be extremely big and bulky – one of the largest specimens recorded was 2.7m wide and weighed 2.3 tonnes, making them the heaviest bony fish in the oceans!

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The Mola mola, a fish that looks like a big ol’ bulky head. Photo: Tom Bridge

But they hold another title too. They’re also the most fertile fish we know of and just one female can contain 300 million eggs at a time! Three hundred million! These eggs are tiny and expelled out in their millions during spawning – at which point Mum likely retreats back down to the deep depths Molas spend most of their time in.

It’s the opposite strategy to us humans, who typically have a few kids and invest lots (!) of time and money and love to give them the best possible start. Mola molas just attempt to have heaps of kids. Most of  these will die, either eaten or unfertilised, but a small sum will survive to continue to pass their genes along.

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The most fertile fish in the sea, the Mola mola! Photo: Shihmei Barger

Back to the questions!
What you didn’t choose: Devote your entire existence to them

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 6.26.54 pmReference

Pope, E. C., Hays, G. C., Thys, T. M., Doyle, T. K., Sims, D. W., Queiroz, N., … & Houghton, J. D. (2010). The biology and ecology of the ocean sunfish Mola mola: a review of current knowledge and future research perspectives. Reviews in fish biology and fisheries, 20(4), 471-487.