In warm waters around the world, you can see a strange sight: a fish jumps out of the water and soars tens of meters high before returning to the depths of the ocean.
Sailors in the Mediterranean region initially believed that dragonflies would return to shore at night to sleep, so they called the sea fish Exocoetidae.
These exotic fish vary in length from 15 to 50 cm.
There are currently around 40 species of flying fish, all of which are cigar-shaped with large, long pectoral fins on either side of the body. There are two types of “flying fish”. The “two-pointed” type, which has two large pectoral fins which cover most of the surface to help lift the body of the fish and the “four wings”, also has two pectoral fins extending beyond the long ones. pectoral fins.
All flying fish have an asymmetrical, slit longitudinal tail (a shape called a cross), with vertebrae extending to a longer lower lobe, giving it the appearance of a ship’s rudder.
These exotic fish vary in length from 15 to 50 cm. The fry will begin to “fly” when they reach about 5 cm in length. According to biologist John Davenport’s 1994 review of flying fish published in Reviews in Fish Biology and Fish, these species of dragonfish have developed the ability to “fly” to escape predators. Swim at high speed like dolphins (Coryphaena hippurus).
A 1967 study published in Nature reports that the eyes of fish, especially the corneas, were developed to help fish see underwater as well as in the air.
Flying fish are not difficult to eat, but mostly on crustaceans and small fish, according to a report from the Pacific Islands Regional Fisheries Forum.
Fish fly at a very high speed over water. The fish are so fast that for decades biologists have not been able to know for sure whether the fish lifts up by flapping its pectoral fins and flying like a bird or a fish using a poison control method. certain.
It wasn’t until 1941 that scientists published high-speed photographs of flying fish in Zoologica magazine. The photos showed the dragonflies leaping out of the water and away, before soaring into the air.
Fish fly towards the surface of the water at a speed of about 1 meter / second, 20 to 30 times their body length. When they come out of the water, they spread their large fins and move away. The longest flying fish on record is the fish that hovers for 45 seconds at an estimated speed of 30 km / h, according to Guinness World Records.
According to the 1994 Davenport assessment, the farthest recorded flight distance of a flying fish is approximately 400 m.
The 1990 assessment by biologist Frank Fish published in the Journal of Zoology, flying fish can reach altitudes up to 8 meters above the water’s surface and can perform consecutive swings.
When the fish is returned to the water after sliding, it will immediately begin to swim extremely fast, increasing its speed to generate enough thrust out of the water again. Flying fish can have up to 12 consecutive slides.
Davenport and other fish experts suspect dragonflies are unlikely to fly in temperatures below 20 degrees C, as colder temperatures tend to interfere with muscle function needed to achieve the speed needed to launch. surface of the water.
However, dragonflies are not considered endangered or threatened and are classified by the Union for the conservation of nature and natural resources as the least affected.
In recent decades, the four-pointed flyingfish (Hirundichthys affinis) has been at the center of an international dispute between neighboring Caribbean island states, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. Fish is a commercially targeted species in both countries. Barbados even adopted the slogan “Land of the Flying Fish”, in recognition of its long-standing cultural and economic importance to fish.