Latin name

Cypselurus heterurus

Other names

French: exocet; Spanish: volador.


The flyingfish has normal-length jaws, unlike these other species; the fins are soft rayed and spineless; and the lateral line is extremely low, following the outline of the belly. The dorsal and anal fins are set far back on the body. The pectoral fins of flyingfish are greatly expanded, forming winglike structures.


About 22 species are found off the Atlantic and the Pacific coasts of North America.


Flying fish are easy to spot in offshore areas when they suddenly break through the surface of the water and glide a short distance before returning to the water again.


The largest of all North American flying fish is the California flying fish (Cypselurus californicus), which can reach 11⁄2 feet in length.

Life history and Behavior

These fish move in whole flocks and are numerous in warm seas. To fly, the Atlantic flying fish jumps out of the water, uses its pectoral fins to catch air currents and provide lift and beats its tail back and forth to provide thrust. After reaching 19 miles an hour, it can jump out of the water and glide from 10 to 40 feet. Presumably this is done to avoid ocean predators.

Food and feeding habits

They are an important food fish for pelagic species, especially for billfish and can be used as bait for fishing in the open sea.


Circular eggs are usually provided with bundles of long filaments that help anchor the eggs in the algae.


Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Beloniformes
Family Exocoetidae
Genus Cheilopogon
Species C. heterurus
Conservation status Least Concern
Habitat Pelagic
Life span, years No information
Maximum body weight, kg No information
Maximum length, cm 40
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating Planktonophage

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Flyingfish, Atlantic Flyingfish

Tags: Flyingfish, Atlantic Flyingfish