Shorefishes of the Tropical Eastern Pacific Online Information System
Updated: 06/12/2008  

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Beloniformes  -  Exocoetidae


All Families(148) All Genera(504) All Species(1287)
pectorals: large wings, pass D origin
1D, at rear
C strongly forked, lower lobe much larger

jaws short, equal
  A & pelvics at rear




Elongate, broadly cylindrical bodies; head short, snout unusually blunt (pointed in Fodiator); mouth small, jaw teeth small or absent; fins without spines; dorsal and anal fins far back on body; pectorals high on sides, greatly enlarged (reach back past dorsal fin origin) as wings; pelvics greatly enlarged in some species; tail deeply forked with a much longer lower lobe; lateral line low on the body; scales large, smooth, easily shed.

Flyingfishes are aptly named for their habit of emerging quickly from the water and gliding for long distances (up to 200-300 m) with their outstretched pectoral fins (and enlarged pelvic fins in some species). These function as wings and are held rigid, without any flapping movements. When swimming, the pectorals are held flat against the body. Flyingfishes are primarily inhabitants of the open sea, but are often seen close to the outer edge of coral reefs over deep water. They feed mostly on planktonic organisms. The eggs are relatively large and have sticky filaments that attach to floating and benthic weeds.

The family occurs in all warm seas and contains 9 genera and about 60 species. We include the tropical eastern Pacific representatives that can be found within ~ 50 km of the shore, 14 species in 7 genera.

Prepared by: D. Ross Robertson, Gerald R. Allen


  WoRMS ITIS Catalog of Fishes Encyclopedia of Life

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