Slender Sunfish

Ranzania Laevis
Slender Sunfish - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Ranzania Laevis
Other names Dwarf Sunfish, Oblong Sunfish, Ranzania, Short Sunfish, Slender Mola, Truncated Sunfish, Trunkfish, Tsunami Fish
Size Up to 1 m (3.28 ft)
Weight Up to 10 kg (22 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Deepsea, offshore in open ocean waters, epipelagic zone
Depth Range 1 - 200 m (656 ft)
Slender Sunfish Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Slender Sunfish are a bit different to others in their species as they travel in large schools.
  • Slender Sunfish are typically silver-grey in colour with white patches on their fins and body. They have a flattened, oval-shaped body with a short snout, small mouth, and a pointed dorsal fin.
  • They are the smallest of their species and the most agile. As their name suggests they are slender and are quick swimmers.
  • Slender Sunfish are carnivores and feed on jellyfish, plankton, small fish, squid and smaller crustaceans.
  • The skin of Slender Sunfish is very thick and tough, which helps to protect them from predators and also from the stinging cells of jellyfish.
  • The lifespan for this species is unclear. Other larger species of sunfish live up to 25 years.
  • These fish have been known to beach themselves in large numbers – the reasons for this are unknown.
  • A interesting fact about this species is that they are unable to close their mouth.
  • Their breeding habits are not well understood. However, it is believed that they have a pelagic spawning behaviour, in which females release eggs into the water column and males release sperm to fertilise them.
  • The main predators of Slender Sunfish include sharks or large predatory fish.
Species Interaction

Snorkelling & Diving

The Slender Sunfish is a fairly elusive fish as it is a faster swimming species of Sunfish. Schools of this fish are occasionally seen by snorkelers or divers in deeper waters on the outside of reefs.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Tetraodontiformes

Family: Molidae

Genus: Ranzania

Species: Ranzania laevis

Conservation Status

Based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Slender Sunfish is currently categorised as “Least Concern”(LC).

LC is the lowest category on the scale for risk with “Extinct”(EX) being the highest.

Fish Taste Quality

Slender Sunfish are not a targeted fish species for consumption in Australia.

Taste Rating: 0/5

Elusive / Overlooked Species

Finding: Difficult

Temperament: Shy

Location: Offshore

Danger: None