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A strange-looking fish washed up on a California beach (cnn.com)
54 points by curtis 52 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 38 comments

”Except for one time in the 1890s, when drawings and records documented the fish appearing in the Netherlands.“

Reading https://science.naturalis.nl/en/about-us/news/collection/new..., those ‘records’ seem to include plenty of remains of the actual specimen.

Also, the species was first described as a separate species in 2017. So, it seems not having seen it in the northern hemisphere may be more a matter of not having looked for it than of it being rare there.

Sunfish are amazing. You see sunfish and manta rays on the eastern seaboard of Australia. What's weird is where it is, not what it is: it's a well known fish

We came across one once off the coast of Sydney while fishing. Sadly, by the time I managed to get in the water it had dived, so I only got a blurry glimpse.

Here are a couple of videos of a live one for reference:



Yup, must be Mola tecta. This tail is not from M. mola or M. alexandrini (syn. Mola ramsayi).

Apart of USA, the species has been found in New Zealand, Chile, South Africa... and Netherlands.

Sunfish have often huge loads of parasitic worms inside.

Parasites are good for you as they feed on dead, damaged cells. They're the quickest method of detoxification. The best thing to do when you have a parasite is to let it run its course while eating plenty of raw eggs and fat.

Source: Aajonus Vonderplanitz, We Want To Live and The Recipe For Living Without Disease

I doubt anyone here is going to fall for that, but just in case: "Vonderplanitz claimed that in his 20s he was diagnosed with multiple, terminal cancers resistant to conventional treatments, and that he cured these along with a number of other maladies such as autism, angina, dyslexia, juvenile diabetes, multiple myeloma, psoriasis, bursitis, osteoporosis, tooth decay and 'mania caused by excessive fruit' through raw diets, especially ones including raw meat."

Hmm, maybe if you have an auto-immune disorder. But in general, I'd say avoid them.


Does this go for all parasites, or only certain parasites? Is there data on that? Intuition and quick Google tells me that may have to be careful about which parasites you "ignore".

The normal case is that parasites cause serious problems and are permanent. Take hookworm, which causes anemia in whites and was responsible for the stereotype of the poor Southern white being pale and lazy. There is no reason to expect a parasitic infection to "run its course".

Particular parasites may be largely harmless due to context; I believe a tapeworm won't do much to you other than causing you to stay thin while eating large quantities of food. This was more dangerous when people enjoyed less of a food surplus than we do now. Of course, the tapeworm will also transmit tapeworms to everyone in contact with you.

All good points, parasites are generally to be avoided and do have consequences.

As for tapeworms, it really depends on the type. Some as you say just eat your lunch, but pork tapeworms are dangerous. They carry a risk of having their eggs wend their way into tissues such as muscles, and most dangerously the brain, with predictably disastrous consequences. Neurocysticercosis is no joke, and if you’d like to never sleep again try a google image search for it.

The only two (controversial) benefits of human parasites I know of are non-pork tapeworms used for dieting, and... something very interesting indeed. I give you... Helminthic Therapy. Some clever folks noticed that certain parasitic worms (helminths) are very good at modulating the immune system of their host, presumably to protect themselves and their offspring. They reasoned that a controlled infection could help with some autoimmune diseases, and it’s a subject of research.


Even more interesting though is the hypothesis that widespread helminth infection is a contributing factor to lower rates of allergies and autoimmune disease in developing nations.


This raises the question whether some of our so-called lifestyle diseases are due (or more prevalent or severe due) to eradication of some common parasites we evolved with.

I think the evidence is decently strong that this is the case. The problem is that the lifestyle diseases, while bad, are clearly much better than the diseases they replace.

What is the evidence for that? Autoimmune conditions can really suck.

I meant the evidence that the lifestyle diseases are better than the diseases they replace.

Very cheesy how I got downvoted for genuinely asking a question though lmao. I don't know what the answer is -- I feel like it could go either way.

Based on a quick google for Aajonus Vonderplanitz, I'm confident that it is 100% false.

Certainly not if you're this ant https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ophiocordyceps_unilateralis

The process leading to mortality takes 4–10 days, and includes a reproductive stage where fruiting bodies grow from the ant's head, rupturing to release the fungus's spores.

https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/infections/parasitic-infec... is at least one such parasite I would not want to detox on.

I wonder what fun pals live inside those fish though.

> Does this go for all parasites, or only certain parasites?

The previous statement is not based on real science. "Cell detoxification" is a void term used often to justify selling you all kind of miraculous snake oils.

The guy he's citing is a quack.

Does anyone know if the Japanese omen about oarfish have any weight? How concerned should we be about events like these?

There is this famous snd hilarious rant about sunfish on facebook https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1874957885867615&id=10...

Which is entertaining, but shouldn't be read without this response, "why the rant is wrong".


Wonderfully informative post and presented in such a beautiful manner. Thanks a lot for the link.

Except for the end. That wasn't necessary. Good read though, very informative indeed.

What are you referring to? I didn't see anything inappropriate at the end of the article.

Imgur's unfortunate UI - there is a button at the "end" of the page to load the rest of it, which is not very noticeable if you're not looking for it.

The sentence refered to is:

    PS. The only living things that deserve to be
    considered useless are scumbags, like Scout
    Burns, or this moron who is riding an 
    unfortunate ocean sunfish.

Ah, that is exactly what happened.

Now I know how to read all the way to the end of an Imgur article, thanks! :-)

I'm not sure I want to quote it because, like I said, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the article. But if you search for "And to Scout Burns: [...]" ..

TLDR: It's a huge sunfish, but not the species of sunfish they first thought it was. Turns out it's a "Hoodwinker Sunfish", and this is the first known sighting in North America -- they're usually found in the Southern Hemisphere.

Washed up right by here; it caused quite a stir. It wasn't the only one, either: another one had washed up a mile or so west, though I don't think it was a hoodwinker.

Ugh ok, I'll bite..

A whale also washed up on an island in Brazil a couple of weeks ago, apparently the tide movement and a river helped that happen

There was another news story, shared by Drudge the same time as this, where dozens of dead dolphins were washing ashore of some southern Cali beach. I wondered if both stories, along with the case of the newly-discovered glow in the dark sharks found somewhere around Hawaii a year or so back, all have to do with traces of the Fukushima disaster being washed here and there around the Pacific.

I think that's extremely unlikely. Radioactivity doesn't really work like the spider in Spider-Man.

It can be a huge catalyst for change though. Food chains poisoned and disrupted, throwing off migration patterns, etc. And THESE changes can illicit evolutionary jump-starts. Unless he was just a fishy Paul Revere coming to warn us CTHULHU is awakening.

Sick marine mammals turning up on California beaches in droves:


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