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Facts: The Flying Fish

Facts: The Flying Fish


Flying fish can be seen leaping out of the
ocean and gliding through the air. In order to accomplish this feat, these fish
have greatly enlarged pectoral fins. There are about 40 species of flying fish. They can be found inhabiting surface waters
in the tropics and subtropics of the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans. Most inhabit the open ocean far away from
the coast. The exact reason why flying fish fly is unclear. It is often assumed that they do this to escape
from predators like dolphinfish, tuna, and marlin. Sometimes they become prey for birds when
they are in the air. They are a critical food source for their
predators. Flying fish will hold their pectoral fins
flat at their sides when swimming. They can propel themselves out of the water
at speeds of over 35 mph (56 km/hr). Their modified fins allow them to glide for
up to 650 ft (200 m) and reach heights over 4 ft (1.2 m) above the water. Their streamlined bodies reduce drag when
they are flying. Flying fish can grow up to 18 inches (46 cm)
long, but they average 7 to 12 inches (18 to 31 cm). They have an unevenly forked tail with their
lower lobe longer than the upper lobe. Some species have enlarged pectoral fins and
pelvic fins, allowing them to travel further with four wings. Plankton make up a large portion of their
diet, along with small crustaceans. Spawning takes place in the open ocean near
the water’s surface. Sometimes the female’s eggs are attached
by sticky filaments to seaweed and floating debris. Some species have buoyant eggs that float
at the surface. Flying fish live an average of 5 years. They are fished commercially in some areas,
but their populations are stable. Since flying fish are attracted to light,
fishermen will often use light to lure these fish into their boats. Sailors sometimes find them on the decks of
their ships. For more marine facts, click the SUBSCRIBE
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