It looks like something out of a science fiction film.
And at more than 10 foot long and 9 foot wide, it's no wonder Marine biologist Enrique Ostale could not believe his luck when he set eyes on the enormous sunfish he had been called to check after a tuna-fishing boat noticed it tangled in its nets off the Mediterranean coast earlier this month.
"When we arrived there the feeling was of astonishment, on one hand we couldn't believe our luck, because we have read books and articles about the dimensions that a sunfish could have but we didn't know we would be able to watch it and touch it ourselves."
With dark grey skin, rounded grooves in its flanks and a large, prehistoric-looking head, this particular specimen was likely a mola alexandrini and a record find for the area.
"It's normal to see large fishes but not this big. According to the bibliography, this one could way up to 2000 kilos. What we know for sure is that the 1000-kilo scale didn't work. It made a mistake and it was about to break, so looking at other studies and comparing sizes, it could weigh 2000 kilos."
After Ostale and his fellow biologists took measurements, photographs, and DNA samples, the fish was returned to the water, where it swiftly vanished into the deep. The mammoth sunfish is classed as a vulnerable species and is not eaten in Europe.