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Atlantic Flyingfish Cheilopogon melanurus (Cypselurus melanurus)


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Atlantic Flyingfish
credit: Patrick Coin/CCSA

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Family: Exocoetidae, Flyingfishes view all from this family

Description Like many other flyingfishes, the Atlantic flyingfish has a cylindrical body, and large tail and pectoral fins that it uses for flight. To fly, the Atlantic flyingfish 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. The longest recorded individual was 32 cm long, but most adults are roughly 25 cm long. Atlantic flyingfish are generally green to blue dorsally, and white or silver ventrally.

Dimensions Up to 12 3/4" (32 cm).

Habitat Ocean or bay shallows, Open ocean.

Range New England, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Florida.

Discussion After reaching a speed of 30 km/h, Atlantic flyingfish jump out of the water and can glide 3 to 12 m. This is presumably done to avoid ocean-going predators. Preyed upon by several species of larger fishes and seabirds, such as the Wahoo and Sooty tern. Young Atlantic flyingfish up to 15 centimetres (5.9 in) in length have transparent pectorals and often swim in harbors or bays.