Do Flying Fish Really Fly?
No, flying fish don’t really fly, they just glide over the surface of the water by means of two large, wing like fins. Flying fish glide above the water in order to escape their enemies, which are most often dolphins.
To glide, the fish first swims quickly to the surface of the water. When it is moving at top speed, the fish swoops out of the water with a powerful flip of its tail. Then, stretching out its large side fins, it gracefully glides into the air. Most flying fish stay in the air only a few seconds, but this is long enough for them to escape the enemy below.
Depending on the size of the fish, a single glide can be as long as 1,300 feet, though they are on average closer to 600 feet that’s almost as long as two football fields! But while a flying fish can “extend” its glide by touching its tail to the water and building up momentum again, it will have to return to the water eventually in order to breathe.
Flying fish sometimes get so high that they land on the decks of large ships. At one time, it was thought that a flying fish actually flew by flapping its fins as a bird does its wings, but it is now known that the fins are held rigid and not flapped. Thus flying fish do not actually fly like birds, but they sail, or glide, like gliders.