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 pectoral 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
submerged . Flyingfish are able to reach speeds of up to forty
miles per hour . Flyingfish travel in schools and are abundant in
warm seas .In May 2008, a Japanese television crew (NHK) filmed
a flying fish off the coast of Yakushima Island, Japan. The fish
spent 45 seconds in flight.The previous record was 42 seconds.
The world of the flying fish
Flying fish documentary
Amazing flying fish!
Close up of flying fish in the water
drawing of a flyingfish from
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
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 .
How did flying fish evolve ?
The oldest known fossil of a flying or gliding fish, Potanichthys
xingyiensis, dates back to the Middle Triassic, 235–242 million
years ago. However, this fossil is not related to modern flying
fish, which evolved independently about 66 million years ago.
Flying fish firsthad to evolved skulls that helped them live in
surface waters. Then, they evolved tails powerful enough to
launch them from the water. Then, t winglike fins were
evolved that helped them glide. Lastly t body scales were
discarded to make them more aerodynamic.
What do Flying Fish eat ?
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 and seals .
What are the predators of the flying fish ?
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.
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 on the one dollar
coin of Barbados
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.
w\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
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 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 .
a Blackwing flyingfish
In Japan, flying fish roe (とびこ) is used to make sushi.
Steve N. G. Howell
This first-of-its-kind book provides a
rare and incomparable look at flying fish .
Flying fish Links