Despite numerous scientific studies, it is necessary to recognize that even in the 21st century, our planet has not been fully studied. This is especially true of the World Ocean, in which there are still inhabitants unknown to science. In addition, many amazing creatures live in its depths.
One of them is a flying fish. Of course, it is known for a long time, but this did not become less interesting.
Flying fish is one of the most unusual and interesting species.
Flying or Diptera fish belong to the family of marine fish, the order Sarganoid, consisting of 52 species, 8 genera. Scientifically flying fish is called Exocoetidae. The main feature of these fish – enlarged pectoral fins, that help individuals jump out of the water and make a planning flight.
The length of the body ranges from 20 to 50 centimeters, the color is bluish, the back is darker. Pectoral fins, depending on the species, may be green, brown, blue, colorless, with stripes or spots.
Fish that can fly live in the area of hot subtropics or the tropics, prefer water with a temperature of at least 20 degrees Celsius. Some species are found only in the coastal zone, others in the open ocean. Swim in small flocks at shallow depths.
They feed on mollusks, plankton, small crustaceans, larvae.
In the dark, flying fish attract various sources of light, so there are cases when they fly up to the ship’s lights and hit the ship’s side heavily or even fly to the deck.
The ability to fly developed in fish as an instrument of salvation from predators, and this ability is expressed unequally in different genera. In species with short pectoral fins, the flight is not as perfect as that of their “long-winged” brethren. In addition, the development took place in two directions, with the result that There is a difference in the fins of the fish:
- Diptera. They use only pectoral fins.
- Four winged. These also use the ventral fins, as they are well developed.
Species that use only pectoral fins for soaring fly worse than species that use not only pectoral but also pelvic fins for flight.
Evolution was reflected in the rest of the body structure. For example, the upper lobe of the caudal fin is much smaller in size than the lower one, and the air bubble is extremely developed and continues under the spine to the tail.
Flight process following: first, the fish develops a significant speed in the water, then jumps out to the surface at an angle of about forty degrees and plans some time by air, straightening the pectoral fins and accelerating due to oscillatory movements of the lower part of the caudal fin dipped into the water. Being in the water, the individual develops a speed of about 30 kilometers per hour, during the flight – up to 70 kilometers per hour.
It flies for about 10 seconds, after which it gradually decreases to the water.
The altitude of flying fish reaches 5 meters, and the range – 50 meters. Sometimes, hitting an ascending air stream, fish can fly more than 300 meters.
Spawning time comes in spring. Fish breed by laying eggs on algae, floating bird feathers or other garbage.
Species that inhabit the open ocean, spawn directly into the water. Usually during the spawning period, a school of fishes gathers in one place and circles above it, spawning. Water at the same time is painted in greenish color.
The diameter of the eggs is about 6-7 mm, the color is orange-reddish.
Flying fish roe is known under the Japanese name “tobiko” and is widely used in sushi and other Japanese dishes.
Emerging fry float to the surface of the water, feed on plankton. Juveniles differ from adults in bright color and short fins.
Despite the fact that people catch fish in large quantities, as well as marine predators and birds hunt them, at present, the population is not in danger. Indeed, one female individual is able to lay off about 25 thousand eggs for the period of one spawning.
The winged fish has tasty meat, so they are the object of industrial and artisanal fishing.
Flying fish have the highest commercial value in Japan, where their fishery accounts for 50% of the total catch.
The following fishing methods are used:
- On the Polynesian islands they are caught with hook gear and nets. At night, they use nets, attracting fish with lantern lights.
- In the Philippines, purse seine and a trap from the net are used, and during fishing, several beaters on boats scare the flock, directing it to the traps.
- In India, commercial fishing is carried out during spawning. Fishermen make artificial spawning grounds from the branches that are towed behind a watercraft and in which schools of fish gather.
Industrial fishing is carried out in Vietnam, Indonesia, China. But the biggest fishery is in Japan, where winged fish make up half of the total catch.
In addition to meat, caviar, known as tobiko, is also very popular in many countries. And caviar and meat are healthy dietary products and have excellent taste.
This is basic information about who the winged fish are. Nature and evolution have created truly amazing creatures that live in water, but at the same time know how to fly.
Their existence proves that the fauna of the Earth is very interesting and diverse.
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