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Flying fish

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Flying fish
Flying fish.jpg
Scientific Classification
Genera
Two four-winged flying fish
Flying fish4.jpg

The flying fish is a relatively small, torpedo-shaped fish with large pectoral fins which enable is flight. They can be found in every ocean but are commonly found in tropical and subtropical waters where it's warmer. They swim along the surfaces where it is easy to escape from predators by jumping and "flying" for distances in order to escape.

Contents

Anatomy

Flying fish just after take-off

The size of a full grown adult flying fish may vary between 15–50 cm. The lateral muscles and the medial muscles are designed to extend and furl the fish's pectoral fins, or "wings."

Flying fish are separated into two main groups: "two-wingers" and "four-wingers." The additional pair of pelvic fins of a four-winged flying fish serves as stabilizers for the fish's flight. [1]

In order to be able to see above the surface, the flying fish's eyes are much flatter than those of a normal fish who spend their whole life submerged. [2] Their bodies also have a torpedo-like shape to enable them to reach maximum speed to shoot out of the water.

It's tail is also unevenly shaped where the lower fork is longer than the upper fork of the tail. The fish uses the lower lobe to propel itself while it emerges out of the water give it more height and speed. [3]

Reproduction

Flying fish spawn in the open ocean, usually among seaweed and other aquatic plants. Their eggs are generally large and have a long filament which anchors it to surrounding plants, debris, etc. [4] Flying fish have been known to mate in large groups, sometimes over a million at a time.

The abundance of flying fish is numerous between December and June, but rare between the months of July and November. They usually begin the mating season around December, reaching it's peak at around June.[5]

Ecology

Flying fish in flight

The flying fish can be found in all major oceans but most commonly inhabits warmer and more tropical or subtropical regions. [6] They inhabit warm, open waters.

They also tend to swim near the surface of the water where they can quickly jump when threatened by predators.[7] They have the ability to jump to altitudes of 36 ft. and glide 134-600 ft. above the surface. They have also been known to reach speeds of about 30 mph.

While still in the early stages of development, the flying fish uses camouflage to disguise itself as Baringtonia blossoms until they mature and are able to jump of "fly."[8]

They feed mostly on small crustaceans and plankton in the water. [9] Plankton are tiny, microscopic organisms that live abundantly in the oceans and are also food sources for other marine animals such as whales. Flying fish have also been known to be omnivorous, meaning they eat both plants and animals. Some even feed on other small fish.[10]

Flight

The most distinguishing quality that flying fish are equipped with is the ability to glide above the surface of the water, giving it it's name; "Flying" fish.

It begins it's takeoff underwater reaching it's top speed. The flying fish's body is shaped similar to that of a torpedo which contributes to it's high speeds. Once the fish emerges, it moves it's caudal fin from side to side on the water's surface in order to increase it's altitude and speed.

After it is completely out of the water, it immediately expands it's large pectoral fins which it uses to glide above the water. Some flying fish are also equipped with a pair of large pelvic fins which are used for stability while in flight.

References


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