Flying Fish – Are They Flying Or Swimming ?

Photo credit : [IG]@tomcannonphotography

Do fish fly? The simple answer is no, they swim. Then why the name flying fish? It is because the flying fish can glide through the air. You can see it jumping out of warm ocean water. If you see a school of fish having wings and gliding on air, they are the flying fish.

The scientific name of the flying fish is Exocoetidae. It can grow up to the size of 18 inches.  There are several names for flying fish like flying cod.

Characteristics of flying fish

More than 40 species of flying fish are found up to now. The fish belongs to seven to 9 genera. They love to live in tropical and subtropical water of Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans.  They are also found in the outskirts of coral reefs.


The mating season of flying fish usually takes place when the ocean currents become weak. So it varies from one ocean to another. Most probably, it lays between spring and autumn.  The female fish lay a large number of eggs near the surface of the water. The eggs are attached to the floating debris. Young fish has a whisker close to their mouth. It is like underwater plants. The appearance help for the survival of fish during the first days of life.


Flying fish are omnivores. They depend on plankton and crustaceans.

They feed at night.

How do flying fish communicate?

Fish also communicate with each other just like human beings. They use gestures and vibrations for communications. So it is relevant to the flying fish too.


Fishermen in Japan, China, and Vietnam commercially hunt the flying fish. It is done in India and Indonesia too. Flying fish is found in Japanese cuisines. The dried fish is used as fish stock for dashi broth. Japanese flying fish is taken to make sushi called tobico. The taste of flying fish is slightly the same as sardine.

Interesting facts about the flying fish

There are lots of interesting facts about flying fish. Let’s check out some engaging, fun, and interesting facts about this fish variety.

Flying fish can’t fly

Flying fish can’t fly like birds. They leap into the air and glide on short distances. Flying fish have two wings like structures. Those are unevenly forked tails with large pectoral fins. They stretch out fins to fly in the air. The wings are useless when swing. So the fish fold them while swimming.

Photo credit : [IG]@tomcannonphotography

They can escape from predators

A flying fish can reach up to 200 meters. They can travel distances of 1 312 feet without getting a rest. It ensures a quick escape from the predators. So it is easy for them to escape from a predator like a marlin, mackerel, Swordfish, and Tuna while swimming. But unfortunately flying fish become prey for birds while gliding.

Flying fish has several colors

The fish is very much similar to the shape of a torpedo. The upper side of the body of a flying fish is bluish-grey. Their belly has a grayish-silver color. It has a forked tail. The lower part of the tail is longer than the upper part.

Name of the baby flying fish

There are no special names for female and male flying fish. They are called male flying fish and female flying fish. But baby flying fish is called a fry. They start to fly after attending the length of 2 inches.

Flying fish lives as a large school

You can see a large group of flying fish glide in the air. They live within a large group. It is a disadvantage for this species as fishermen catch a large number of flying fishes at a time.  Flying fish has large eyes. So they are highly sensitive to light. So fishermen easily catch them with the help of lights. Most of the flying fish are hunted during the night.

The largest species of flying fish

As mentioned earlier, there are several species of flying fish. Among them, the largest species belongs to California.  The California flying fish is found in the pacific ocean. It can grow up to 45 cm in length.

Famous countries for Flying Fish

Flying fish is a national symbol in Barbados. The country is famous as “the land of the flying fish”.  The flying fish is depicted as sculptures in fountains on coins. It is also a part of the official logo of the Barbados Tourism Authority.  The Barbadian passport contains actual artistic renditions and holograms of the flying fish.

Flying fish is the national cuisine of Barbados.

What is the conservation status of flying fish?

Flying fish has not faced any extinction threat. So no conservation procedure has been taken on behalf of this animal. Flying fish is concerned as a species having a stable population.

The animal world is composed of so many fun facts. We never thought that fish can fly. But the flying fish has proved that our thinking is completely wrong. It is our paramount duty to conserve the beauty of nature for the next generations.


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