What a weird few weeks! Over the last year I have needed to explain & describe my study species to a host of different people (which often requires some pretty inventive impersonations), but no more! It seems I cannot go anywhere now without seeing a sunfish, on the news, on youtube, even trending on twitter (I know, I was surprised & delighted too!)
This year the U.K. has seen high abundances of sunfish, particularly off the Cornish coast, as recorded by the Cornish Wildlife Trust and marine wildlife tours groups such as Marine Discovery Penzance. A friend of mine, local marine biologist Tom Horton was even interviewed by The One Show to discuss the unusual frequency of sightings (see on BBC Iplayer from 24mins in on this weblink http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06dncw0).
Aside from sunfish appearing on the BBC, recent footage of a Boston man getting thoroughly over-excited about seeing a sunfish has now gone viral online! (If you haven’t seen it yet, please be prepared for some pretty strong language…) Search on Youtube or try this link below : http://www.theinertia.com/environment/boston-bro-hilariously-loses-his-shit-when-he-sees-a-sunfish/#modal-close
His reaction to seeing a fish is very funny for being so ludicrously over the top. It is perhaps a little sad that his initial thought as someone who has clearly seen a large amazing wild animal for the first time, and all he wants to do is hook it, kill it & sell it. But luckily the fish escapes and this story has now gone viral for all to enjoy! Infact, this video has been so incredibly popular, that parody versions are springing up all over the place! My favourite is this Jaws mash-up, but there are plenty to choose from! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqaMJk_n7g4
Finally, this incredible footage of a giant sunfish in Portuguese waters has widely spread online demonstrating the sheer size of these fish, it dwarfs the divers swimming around as it calmly fins through the ocean. If you only have time for one video today, please make it this one. http://www.grindtv.com/wildlife/divers-off-portugal-dwarfed-by-massive-sunfish/#vXG681fVdJU4vQMT.97
All together, these stories provide a huge background of information on sunfish and amazing publicity for this intriguing species!