When we introduce the word ‘fish’ to a little kid, without a doubt, we mean ‘something that swims in water’. Now, what if I tell you you’re not entirely correct? Fish do not always swim. THEY CAN FLY AS WELL! Such astonishing is a story of a kind of fish called The Flying Fish.
Scientifically named Exocoetidae, the marine fish has a typical streamlined shape like any other. It grows up to 18 inches. About 40 species of the fish are known to human. Additionally, they have forked tails. Some species also have enlarged pelvic fins and hence are known as four-winged flying fish.
Surprisingly, Barbados is a country whose one of the national symbols is the flying fish. Hence, it is also known as “the land of the flying fish”. The fish is widely depicted in the Barbadian culture such as – on coins, as fountain sculptures, in artwork, and with the logo of the Barbados Tourism Authority.
THE FLIGHT OF FLYING FISH
The streamlined shape helps in generation of velocity. Further, this gathered speed is enough to break the water surface. Moreover, the fish has long, wing-like pectoral fins. While angling upward, these fins help get them airborne and take flight. Also, the tail repeatedly beats beneath the water surface. Once it comes near the surface again, it flips the tail to continue the flight.
They can be seen jumping out of ocean waters very often. Sometimes, they reach above the height of four feet. In fact, these flying fish can soar high enough that sailors often find them on the decks of their ships. The fish have been recorded to spend 45 seconds while gliding. The average distance they cover is around 160 feet. However, the longest has been recorded to be of 1,300 feet.
WHY FLY WHEN YOU CAN SWIM?
This remarkable ability of the flying fish to glide over the water acts a defence mechanism. The fish has a large number of predators underwater, such as tuna, swordfish, dolphins, birds, squids, etc. Hence, flying helps it evade and escape quickly and safely. The increased speed and manoeuvrability provide an advantage to the omnivore. Furthermore, it gives them leverage when compared to other species in a similar environment.