| Common names: flyingfish (English), volador (Espanol) |
Cheilopogon pinnatibarbatus californicus (Cooper, 1863)
Smallhead flyingfish, California flyingfish
Body relatively slender (depth < 16% of SL); head relatively short (< 22% of SL); snout short (~ eye diameter); mouth small, jaws ~ equal length, or lower a little longer, top one not protrusible; jaw teeth with 1 point, sometimes with smaller secondary points; sides of roof of mouth with teeth; fins without spines; 9-13 dorsal rays; 9-12 anal rays; pectoral reaches tail fin base, its 1st ray unbranched; pelvic origin nearer operculum than tail fin base, fin long, reaches nearly to end of anal fin base; anal origin under 3rd dorsal ray; tail deeply forked with a longer lower lobe; lateral line low on the body, no branch to origin of pectoral; scales large, smooth, easily shed; ~ 50 scales in front of dorsal fin; juveniles with 2 fused barbels under chin.
Blue-grey above, silvery below; dorsal with a large dark spot; pectorals dark grey with a wide clear border; remaining fins clear.
Size: reaches 48 cm.
Habitat: surface layers inshore and offshore.
Depth: 0-10 m.
Oregon to the tip of Baja California, the SW Gulf of California, also the Revillagigedos Islands.
Global Endemism: All species, East Pacific endemic, TEP non-endemic
Regional Endemism: All species, Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic, Temperate Eastern Pacific, primarily, California province, primarily, Continent + Island (s), Continent, Island (s)
Climate Zone: North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California), Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap), Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
Catalog Number: USNM 8140
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Locality: Catalina Is. Cal., California, United States, Pacific
- Type: Cooper, J. G. 1863. Proceedings of the California Academy of Natural Sciences. 3: 93, fig. 20.
Habitat and Ecology
Inshore/Offshore: Offshore Only, Offshore
Water Column Position: Surface, Water column only
Habitat: Water column
FishBase Habitat: Pelagic
Diet: zooplankton, pelagic fish eggs, pelagic fish larvae
Life History and Behavior
Molecular Biology and Genetics
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
CITES: Not listed
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
California flying fish
The California flying fish, Cheilopogon pinnatibarbatus californicus, is a subspecies of Pacific flying fish. It may grow up to 15 inches (38 cm) in length and is the largest member of the flying fish family. It is found in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, from Oregon to Baja California. As with all other flying fish, the California can not actually fly, but it can launch itself into the air, using its specially adapted fins to glide along the surface.
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