flying fish

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flying fish,

common name for members of the Exocoetidae, a family of carnivorous or herbivorous fish of warmer seas. Flying fishes usually swim in schools. They average 7 to 12 in. (17.5–30 cm) in length and have pectoral fins that compare in size with the wings of birds; in some species the pelvic fins also are enlarged. Of the latter type, best known in Atlantic waters are the four-winged flying fish and the bearded flying fish, named for the long barbels around the mouths of the young. The young of many species of flying fishes resemble blossoms of plants in the genus Barringtonia and are thus protected from predators. The California flying fish (Cheilopogon pinnatibarbatus californicus), the largest (up to 18 in./45 cm) of the family, is common in the Pacific; the blackwing flying fish is found in both oceans. Flying fishes are excellent food; their aerial talents help them to avoid the tuna, mackerel, and dolphins that prey on them.

Flying fishes generally do not actually fly, but glide on their outstretched fins for distances of up to 1-4 mi (0.4 km). Their velocity (up to 30 mi/48 km per hour) builds as they approach the water's surface until they launch themselves into the air, vibrating their specially adapted tail fins in order to taxi along the surface. The flying gurnard of the South Atlantic, an unrelated member of the Dactylopteridae family, has enormous pectorals and makes short leaps clear of the water. A 3-in. (7.5 cm) characincharacin
or characid
, common name for members of the Characidae, a large and diverse family comprising 700 species of freshwater fishes. The characins are related to the carp and the catfish. They are found in Africa and in tropical America, especially in the Amazon.
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 (family Characidae) of the Amazon basin actually flies short distances by buzzing its winglike fins.

True flying fishes are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Beloniformes, family Exocoetidae.

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flying fish

[¦flī·iŋ ¦fish]
(vertebrate zoology)
Any of about 65 species of marine fishes which form the family Exocoetidae in the order Atheriniformes; characteristic enlarged pectoral fins are used for gliding.

Flying Fish

[¦flī·iŋ ¦fish]
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

flying fish

any marine teleost fish of the family Exocoetidae, common in warm and tropical seas, having enlarged winglike pectoral fins used for gliding above the surface of the water
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Park went fishing in the East Korean Sea, successfully landing 40 darkedged-wing flying fish. Selecting five similarly sized fish, Park took them to the Korean Research Centre of Maritime Animals, where they were dried and stuffed, some with their fins extended (as in flight) and one with its fins held back against the body, ready to test their aerodynamics in the wind tunnel.
Park and Choi measured the forces on the flying fish's fins and body as they simulated flights.
Calculating the flying fish's lift-to-drag ratios - a measure of the horizontal distance travelled relative to the descent in height during a glide - Choi and Park found that the flying fish performed remarkably well: gliding better than insects and as well as birds such as petrels and wood ducks.
Expert Paul Murray of the Rhyl Seaquarium said, 'Flying fish have been found in Devon and Cornwall and I suppose it would certainly be possible, because of the Gulf Stream, for them to be in North Wales.
Sarah said: 'I am no marine life expert, but I guess it could be pretty rare to find flying fish so far north in the Irish Sea.
Bangor university whale and dolphin expert John Goold said: 'It would be pretty unusual to come across flying fish off the North Wales coast.
Douglas Henderson at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth said: "There have been two or three sightings of the flying fish by yachtsmen in mid Channel but until now we have not been 100 per cent certain they exist in our waters.
Matt Slater, of the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay, Cornwall, said: "A flying fish in these parts is an extremely rare occurrence."
It's not clear if this elegant flying fish was photographed by Pierce or another photographer.