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What are flying fish and how do flying fish fly ?

 

Flyingfish is the common name of some 50 species of all in the family Exocoetidae . Gliding is made possible by the enlargement of the pectorial fin in the two-winged flyingfish and by both paired fins in the four wing flyingfish.  Flight is made in order to escape enemies and any large body will activate this response, including nearby ships. The wings are held rigid, making its flight more akin to an airplane than a bird. The propulsive thrust is supplied by powerful strokes from the tail, the lower lobe which is extended. This movement makes the fish tremble and the pectorals alternately touch the water in a manner which falsely suggest they are moving.They skim the water and the tail remains submergedFlyingfish are able to reach speeds of up to forty miles per hour . Flyingfish travel in schools and are abundant in warm seas .

 

 

video of the 45 second flyingfish

 

flying fish drawing

drawing of a flyingfish from Journal of a Voyage to New South Wales

 

The Amazing World of Flyingfish

Steve N. G. Howell

This first-of-its-kind book provides a rare and incomparable look at flying fish .

 

How far can a flying fish fly ?

 

 Ordinarily,' flight' is made to escape predators and stimulated by any large body, such as a ship .The trust is provided by the tail, with the tail in the water while the fish glides . Flyingfish don't actually fly, they flap their tail-fin at the surface and are able to glide over the water .The glide may last 30 seconds and cover 300 yards . Flying fish serve as an important food sourcefor tuna and marlin.The record, recorded by a Japanese tv crew, is 45 seconds .Flying fish can grow to 15-18 in length, but most are about 10 inches long.

 

How long do flying fish live ?

 

Most species of Flying fish only live a year, some live 3 to 4 years .The largest flying fish in American waters is the California flyingfish (Cypselurus californicus) which can grow to 1 and a half foot in length . The common Atlantic flyingfish (Cypselurus  heterurus) averages about 10 inches in length .

 

What do Flying Fish eat ?

 

flying fish food

 

Flying fish feed mainly on plankton - any drifting organisms  such animals, plants, archaea, or bacteria) that inhabit the pelagic zone of oceans, seas, or bodies of fresh water. Plankton are defined by their ecological niche rather than their phylogenetic or taxonomic classification. They provide a crucial source of food to larger  organisms such as fish .

 

What are the predators of the flying fish ?

 

flying fish predators

Ha ha, that tuna not going to catch us now.... oh crap!

 

The predators of flying fish are dolphins, tuna, marlin, birds, squids and porpoises. Fisherman use flying fish lures in order to catch tuna and marlin.

 

 

 

 

Great video of flying fish

 

Flying fish are found in all of the major oceans, particularly in the warm tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. In Japanese cuisine, flying fish roe (Tobiko), often from Cheilopogon agoo (Japanese flying fish), is used to make some types of sushi.The flying fish color is blue or greenish above and silver below .

 

flying fish coin

flying fish on the one dollar coin of Barbados

flying fish coin

flying fish on a coin of Tuvalu

 

Do people eat flying fish ?

 

Flying fish are commercially fished in Japan, Vietnam and Barbados by the method of gillnetting and in Indonesia and India by dipnetting. In the Solomon Islands they are caught while flying, using nets held from outrigger canoes. They are attracted to the light of torches. Fishing is done only when there is no moonlight.Historically the country of Barbados was nicknamed as "The land of the Flying fish." Today it remains the official national fish for the country.The once abundant flying fish migrated between the warm coral-filled Atlantic Ocean surrounding the island of Barbados and the plankton-rich outflows of the Orinoco River in Venezuela.

 

flying fish postcard

watching flying fish at night on Catalina Island in the 1940s

You can still take nightime flying fish boat tours on Catalina Island more info here

 

flying fish earrings

 

flying fish postcard

 

Just after the completion of the Deep Water Harbor in Bridgetown, Barbados saw an increase of international ships, linking the island to the world. As a result the overall health of the coral reefs surrounding Barbados suffered due to ship-based pollution. Additionally over-fishing by Barbadians has meant the species of flying fish have slowly retreated closer to the Orinoco river delta no longer returning around Barbados in large numbers.Lately, the fish have started to migrate to Trinidad and Tobago, causing problems between fisherman of the two island countries .

 

flying fish in bucket

flying fish are an important food source for tuna and marlins

 

Flying fish lay their eggs in nests in drifting sargassum seaweed. The fry are orange colored and resemble the berries of sargassum. Flying fish eggs have long,sticky filaments which anchor the eggs to the sargassum . The flyingfish is called an exocet in French and a volador in Spanish .

 

old flying fish drawing

a Blackwing flyingfish

 

 

 

flying fish sushi

In Japan, flying fish roe (とびこ) is used to make sushi.

 

 

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