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Needlefishes and Relatives: Beloniformes

California Flyingfish (cheilopogon Pinnatibarbatus Californicus): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: California flyingfish reach a length of 15 inches (38 centimeters). They are four-winged flyingfishes, meaning both the pectoral and the pelvic fins are enlarged. The pelvic fins are the rear pair, corresponding to the rear legs of four-footed animals. The lower part of the tail fin is much larger than the upper part. These fish are bluish gray on the back and silver on the belly.


Geographic range: California flyingfish live off the coast of North America from Oregon to southern Baja California.


Habitat: California flyingfish live near the surface in open water.

Diet: California flyingfish eat animal plankton and small fish.

California flyingfish are four-winged flyingfishes, meaning both the pectoral and the pelvic fins are enlarged. (Illustration by Wendy Baker. Reproduced by permission.)

Behavior and reproduction: California flyingfish can leap out of the water and glide for long distances, possibly to evade predators (PREH-duh-ters), animals that hunt and kill other animals for food. These fish live in schools and spawn, or reproduce, in summer. The eggs drift in open water and stick to floating seaweed and other debris.


California flyingfish and people: California flyingfish are sometimes used as bait.


Conservation status: California flyingfish are not threatened or endangered. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceFish and Other Cold-Blooded VertebratesNeedlefishes and Relatives: Beloniformes - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, California Flyingfish (cheilopogon Pinnatibarbatus Californicus): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, THEIR RELATIVES NEED