Ocean’s wildlife and Nature’s fascinating video of a flying fish trying to escape its predators!

Courtesy: BBC Earth

As part of a new documentary series, the BBC Earth has unveiled a captivating sequence of flying fish over the ocean. An ability that allows the fish to escape skillfully from the predators.

Why choose between swimming in the oceans and flying in the air when you can do both? The Exocet Fish (Flying fish) is a particularly remarkable family of fish. Especially, the Barbados islands famous as “the home of the flying fish”. However, one can find them in all the oceans of the globe; these species have pectoral fins so developed that they allow them to soar in the air.

‘The Flying Fish’, the fish with wings that can fly! Did you know about the existence of a flying fish? It is a particular species of fish that can fly out from the water and travel long distances while suspended in the area. 

A Flying Fish has an elongated body. Usually, the Flying fish are 25 to 35 cm long, and they have a slender body, silvery color on the sides, and darker on the back. The head is stocky, with a short muzzle and large eyes. The mouth is small, with a slightly prominent jaw and a few very small teeth. They are above all equipped with one or two pairs of highly developed wing-like pectoral fins that characterize their specialty and for which they honor their common name of Flying fish.

Their fins extend and transform into real wings, which help them glide between winds and currents. The Flying fish have a special aerodynamic structure that allows them to accumulate the energy needed to cross the ocean surface while underwater.

Rather than flapping its wing-like fins like a bird, the flying fish keeps its fins steady and glides in the same way as a squirrel or a sugar glider while flying. At the peak of its flight, it can glide up to 4 feet (1.2m) above the water. In a single glide.

Once in the air, these fish can move for quite long stretches, without the need to return to the water. Their flights have a length of nearly 50 meters. But some flying fish can travel up to 200 meters, or even more, sounds cool? Yeah, do you know folks, some of them are equipped with very large “wings”, which allow them to fly up to 400 meters!

While swimming, it can reach speeds of up to 37 miles (60 kilometres) per hour. When the flying fish points itself upward, it can break the surface of the water and starts sliding with its tail still in the water. The tail works as a motor, building additional speed before it breaks in the air.

The different species of flying fish share features that allow them to surface and glide. A forked tail and long, slender body help them pick up speed underwater, while two or four large, wing-like pectoral fins are used to hold them aloft. The lower lobe of the forked tail is larger and is used as a motor when underwater to help the fish maintain altitude. Juvenile fish have mottled, variegated color patterns that become solid upon maturity, and even sport a disappearing whisker as an adult fish approach.

The Flying fish, which usually live near the surface. These fish are good food for predators, such as Swordfish, Marlin, Tuna, and other large fish. Fortunately, the Flying fish have in fact developed a unique strategy of escape from predators that often attack them from below: When pursued by such a predator, they leap out of the water and fall back as far as possible from where they came out.

Fishermen also take advantage of this marine fish’s combination of flight and attraction to lights. A common way to fish for these types of fish is to head into the ocean at night, in small sailboats equipped with lights. These lights act as lures, and when flying fish leap out of the water to go towards the light, they are beached in canoes.

Where To See Flying Fish?

  • Caribbean Islands

Barbados: this small state is located in the Caribbean Sea with a nickname “the land of the flying fish”. The flying fish even appears on local 1 dollar coins. These fish are often found in the main dishes of the country. Several companies offer guided boat tours allowing, for sure, to see the Exocets flying by the hundreds. Barbados benefits from the richer marine fauna and those trips to meet the flying fish will also allow you to see many turtles and dolphins. They are also part of the menu of most restaurants.

  • The coasts of the southwest of the USA

California in the USA: located on the west coast of the United States, California is known more for the world of cinema than for its wild nature. Mountains or coasts. It nevertheless abounds in animal life, on land as in the ocean. The flying fish season lasts from the end of May to the end of September, during the hot weather. The south of the state also has many companies offering guided tours. Santa Catalina Island, in the heart of the Channel Islands Natural National Park, is the starting point for the best sport to watch flying fish.  

The above Flying fish Video from a BBC Earth documentary;  it is taken from episode 4. In this video clip, we can see how the flying fish leap out of the water and fly above the waves to avoid the dolphinfish. The pursuer is also a dolphinfish, also called Mahi-Mahi. But by flying out of the waves, the flying fish puts itself in danger since the frigates throw themselves on them to eat them.

This amazing video of Flying fish gives an overview of the flying fish’s abilities. If they are impressive, we can see that it exposes the animal to some inconvenience. Indeed, by flying, the Exocet manages to escape marine predators. However, this confronts him with the threat of other equally formidable predators, the hunting birds. 

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