The Exocoetidae, a.k.a The Flying Fish

Posted by on 05/24/2011

 

“Flying fish live in all of the oceans, particularly in tropical and warm subtropical waters. Their most striking feature is their pectoral fins,[3] which are unusually large, and enable the fish to hide and escape from predators[4] by leaping out of the water, taking short gliding flights through air just above the water’s surface. Their glides are typically around 50 metres (160 ft).[5]

Flying fish taking off

To glide upward out of the water, a flying fish moves its tail up to 70 times per second.[6] It then spreads its pectoral fins and tilts them slightly upward to provide lift.[3] At the end of a glide, it folds its pectoral fins to reenter the sea, or drops its tail into the water to push against the water to lift itself for another glide, possibly changing direction.[3][6] The curved profile of the “wing” is comparable to the aerodynamic shape of a bird wing.[7] The fish is able to increase its time in the air by flying straight into or at an angle to the direction of updrafts created by a combination of air and ocean currents.[3][6]

Genus Exocoetus has one pair of fins and a streamlined body to optimize for speed, while Cypselurus has a flattened body and two pairs of fins which maximizes its time in the air. From 1900 to the 1930s, flying fish were studied as possible models used to develop airplanes.[6]

Exocoetidae feed mainly on plankton. Predators include dolphins, tuna, marlin, birds, squids and porpoises.[6]

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_fish

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