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Flying Fish

Species Of Flying Fish

Flying fish prefer the warm waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Tropical flying fish such as Exocoetus volitans and Hirundichthys speculiger are found in tropical regions of the world where the water temperature is rarely below 68°F (20°C). The flying fish genus Exocoetus includes 22 species found in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

The Atlantic flying fish (Cypselurus heterurus) inhabits the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean, has a black band extending through its wings, and measures less than 10 in (25.4 cm) in length. The California flying fish (Cypselurus californicus) is reputed to be the largest of all the flying fish, growing up to 1.6 ft (0.5 m), and is caught commercially for human consumption. This species is considered a four-winged flying fish, because its pectoral and pelvic fins resemble large wings.

The large margined flying fish (Cypselurus cyanopterus), the bandwing flying fish (Cypselurus exsiliens), and the short-winged flying fish (Parexocoetus mesogaster) are widely distributed throughout the tropical seas. The smallwing flying fish (Oxyporhamphus micropterus) is found in tropical and subtropical waters, and flies only short distance due to its short wings.



Dickson-Hoese, H., and R.H. Moore. Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and Adjacent Waters. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1977.

Moyle, Peter B., Joseph Cech. Fishes: An Introduction to Ichthyology. 4th ed. New York: Prentice Hall, 1999.

Whiteman, Kate. World Encyclopedia of Fish & Shellfish. New York: Lorenz Books, 2000.

Nathan Lavenda


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Caudal fin

—The tail fin of a fish.

Lateral line

—A line of pores along the sides of a fish containing sensory organs to detect frequency vibrations of low intensity, movements of water, and possibly pressure changes.


—Paired fins of a fish, located close to the gill openings. In air-breathing vertebrates they become forelegs or arms.

Pelvic fins

—Paired fins ventral to the pectorals and in varying positions relative to the pectorals according to the species of fish. They correspond to the hind limbs of air-breathing vertebrates.

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