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Flying fish - A real aquatic acrobat

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Description
From the ancient times humans were fascinating about flying. Later on we have build light gliders, followed by small engine aircrafts and lately big aircrafts. But most of them in the beginning had as model the birds or insects.
Our modern planes do not have as model any bird but mostly the ... fish !. Yes, the fish, not any fish - the flying fish. Because of his unique way of taking off, gliding, steering and spending low energy during his flight.


flying fish,gliding fish,Exocoetidue

People flying in airplanes invariably think of birds in flight and often draw analogies between the aerodynamic design of birds and that of aircraft.
From Leonardo da Vinci to the Wright brothers, the study of bird flight and of the form and structure of birds had helped with the development of human flight.
But birds are not altogether appropriate models for aeronautical design. Birds use beating wings to defy gravity and to propel themselves through the air, while airplanes use fixed wings for lift and engines for propulsion.
To be truly analogous with aircraft, birds-or other flying animals would have to generate their propulsion from a source other than their wings, and those wings would have to remain fixed.

 

 flying fish,gliding fish,Exocoetidue


Having a size Up to 18 in (45 cm), Flying fish are part of a single taxonomic family known as the Exocoetidue and are most closely related to needlefish and halfbeaks.
The family includes eight genera, eight groups, which frequent the tropical oceans of the world. Most are small, approximately six inches long, although the California flying fish can grow to 18 inches.
The “wings” of flying fish are enlargements of the pectoral and pelvic fins, the paired fins of the body.
The pectoral fins are borne by the shoulder and located just behind the gills, and the pelvic fins are located toward the rear, on the underside of the body. 

 flying fish,gliding fish,Exocoetidue

 


When outstretched, both sets of fins furnish a broad surface to generate an upward lift force for flight. The aerodynamic shape of the pectoral fins is remarkably similar to that of some birds’ wings.
Like the curved upper surface on the wings of any bird or any commercial jetliner, the numerous fin rays supporting the wings of flying fish produce a curved or arched profile that helps generate lift for flight.

 

 flying fish,gliding fish,Exocoetidue


Flying fish are gliders, not true flyers like birds, bats, and insects, all of which fly by beating their wings.
To take to the air, a flying fish leaps from the water or rises to the surface continually beating its tail to generate propulsion as it starts to taxi.
The taxiing run lets the fish accelerate at the water surface and build momentum for takeoff. Once the fish reaches its top speed of 20 to 40 miles per hour it spreads its elongate fins and becomes airborne



Diet
Flying fish is an Omnivore.
Plankton mostly, in rich outflows of the Orinoco River in Venezuela, or other plankton rich areas.



Habitat
Flying fish live in all of the oceans, particularly in tropical and warm subtropical waters, Caribbean Sea, Tobago and Barbados countries, but also near Florida coast or Asia (Japan, Vietnam, China, Indonesia, India).
Once abundant in the Caribbean Sea, it migrated between the warm, coral-filled Atlantic Ocean surrounding the island of Barbados and the plankton-rich outflows of the Orinoco River in Venezuela.
Their most striking feature is their pectoral fins, which are unusually large, and enable the fish to hide and escape from predators by leaping out of the water and flying through air a few feet above the water's surface.



Interesting facts
Through modification of the paired fins, flying fish have developed aerodynamic lifting surfaces that enable them to glide 1 m above the water for a distance of around 70 m.
The fish can reach a top speed of 20 to 40 miles per hour helping him to spreads its elongate fins and becomes airborne.
The oldest known fossil of a flying or gliding fish, Potanichthys xingyiensis, dates back to the Middle Triassic, 235–242 million years ago
Their flights are typically around 50 meters (160 ft).
To glide upward out of the water, a flying fish moves its tail up to 70 times per second
The process of taking flight, or gliding, begins by gaining great velocity underwater, about 37 miles (60 kilometers) per hour.
One flying fish was caught "on tape" near coast of Yakushima Island, Japan spending 45 seconds in flight. The previous record was 42 seconds.
 

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Sources :

http://animals.nationalgeographic.co.in/animals/fish/flying-fish/
http://eol.org/pages/8245/overview
http://www.nature.com/news/oldest-flying-fish-fossil-found-in-china-1.11707
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lindbladexpeditions/7039536039/sizes/l/in/photostream/
http://blog.antarctica.ac.uk/rrs_ernest_shackleton/2012/05/21/northbound/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lutherbailey_photos/4475964631/in/set-72157623734988882
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