Narrowhead Flyingfish
Volador IsleƱo
(Cypselurus angusticeps)

Narrowhead Flyingfish, Cypselurus angusticeps: The Narrowhead Flyingfish is not an easy identification primarily due to its obscurity. They have elongated broadly cylindrical dark bodies with narrow pointed heads with small mouths.

The bodies are dark above and paler below with dorsal fins that are pale grey, pectoral fins that are two-thirds gray and one-third clear, pelvic fins that are dark with a clear inner margin, and they have clear anal fins.

The pectoral fins have an unbranched first ray and reach well past the anal fin base. The pelvic fin origin is nearer the anal origin than the pectoral fin base and also reaches beyond the anal origin. The anal fin origin is under the third dorsal ray.

The tail is deeply forked with a disproportionately larger lower lobe.

Juveniles have one broadly flattened chin barbell.

Narrowhead Flyingfish are a pelagic species found in the first 60 feet of the water column, normally far out at sea. They are one of the larger flyingfish, reaching 10 inches in length.

They can be easily confused with the Butterfly Flyingfish, Cheilopogon papilo (dark dorsal fin).

In Mexican waters they have a very limited range being found from the mouth of the Sea of Cortez to the Revillagigedos Islands.

The Narrowhead Flyingfish is a member of the Exocoetidae Family known in Mexico as Voladores. Flyingfish are a global, pelagic species, normally found some distance out at sea. They have exceedingly long and wide pectoral fins which they use like wings, holding them rigid in place, allowing flights up to 300 meters, without a flapping motion. When swimming, these fins are held tight against the body. The fins have no spines; the lateral line is low on the body. The pelvic fin origin is closer to the anal fin origin than to the pectoral fin base. The anal fin origin is directly under the third dorsal ray. Flyingfish have deeply forked tails with the lower lobe larger than the upper. They feed on planktonic organisms. They generate large, sticky eggs that attach themselves to floating debris. Globally, there are 65 species of flyingfish from nine genera. There are twelve global members of the Cypselurus Genus, of which two are found in Mexican waters.

Narrowhead Flyingfish picture

Narrowhead Flyingfish picture

Narrowhead Flyingfish, Cypselurus angusticeps: Caught by commercial fishermen in the greater Los Cabos area of Baja California Sur, Mexico, in August 2011. Size 22.2 cm (8.75 inches). Identification reconfirmed by Eric Lewallen, University of Toronto Scarborough. Description and photos courtesy of John Snow.

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