Blog

Mola Mola Nusa Penida Bali

Meet the Mola Mola while Scuba Diving in Bali

  |   Diving In Bali

Have you heard of the “mola mola” or “sunfish”? Did you know that Bali is one of the few places on the planet here you can dive with this amazing marine species?
 

What is a Mola Mola?

 
The mola mola is one of the strangest looking fish in the ocean and it’s also the heaviest known bony fish in the world. This incredible marine species can weigh in at over 2,200lbs and it has two dorsal fins which make it as tall as it is long. The most distinguishing feature of the mola is its main body area – of which there is very little – and which is flattened laterally. This strange shaping explains the German name for the fish – ‘schwimmender kopf’ which translates literally to ‘swimming head’. The word ‘mola’ is actually latin and means ‘millstone’ perhaps referring to either it’s disc shaped body or marbled coloration.
 
Mola live on a diet of nutritionally poor jelly fish and to maintain their body weight they consume huge quantities. Ordinarily they are deep water fish but here in Bali they are seen around Nusa Penida (a marine protected area) from late June through to November – so the time to dive with them is now!
 

A symbiotic relationship

 
One of our favourite sites for seeing mola is Crystal Bay where we watch them cruise up the reef hoping to attract the attention of the smaller reef fish which “clean” them. Mola mola attract many parasites and these are eaten by their smaller companions – leaving them clean and the smaller fish well fed – a perfect symbiotic relationship.
 
Most commonly we see schooling bannerfish cleaning the mola but butterflyfish and angelfish often join in too.
 
They are a truly pre-historic looking fish which, as a member of the order Tetraodontiformes, are closely related to pufferfish, porcupine fish and triggerfish. The mola is also referred to as the Balinese Sunfish (or Moonfish to the French – Poisson Lune). The name sunfish is thought to come from its habit of ‘sunbathing’ on the surface of the water.
 

Bannerfish cleaning the mola mola

Bannerfish cleaning the mola mola

 
So are you ready to dive with the mighty mola? Check out our Nusa Penida day trips here. All Nusa Penida trips include 2 dives, a Diving Indo experienced dive guide, lunch, tea, coffee and water, towel, all land and sea transport as well as free hotel pick up and drop off service (within South Bali).
 

Are you an Open Water Diver?

 
Mola mola can be seen at all depths, including upwards of 18 meters, but as a naturally deep water dwelling species your chances of a sighting are increased during dives up to 30 meters. Do you want to develop your skills, increase your depth limit and make 5 phenomenal dives while you are here in Bali? Take the PADI Advanced Open Water Course and you’ll be certified to dive to 30 meters during your trip!
 

Dive More, See More, Save More

 
Do you have more than one day to dive? Gili Tepekong and Mimpang are also great sites to spot Mola. Did you know that the more days you dive the more you save? Check out our Bali diving packages and safari’s here.
 
So would you like to come mola spotting with us? To make a reservation or for more information contact us on: info@diving-indo.com or fill out our contact form and we’ll get right back to you.
 
We are looking forward to diving in Bali with you soon!