Narrowhead Flyingfish, Cypselurus angusticeps
The Narrowhead Flyingfish, Cypselurus angusticeps, whose Spanish common name is volador isleño, is a species in the family Exocoetidae, the Flyingfishes, known collectively as voladores in Mexico. Globally, there are twelve species in the genus Cypselurus, two of which are found in Mexican waters, both in the Pacific.
The Narrowhead Flyingfish has an elongated broadly cylindrical body. They are blue-green dorsally and silvery ventrally. The anal fin is transparent, the caudal fin dusky, the dorsal fin pale gray, the pectoral fins are two-thirds red-gray and one-third clear and the pelvic fins are pale with a dusky spot at the center of the base. They have short narrow pointed heads with the snout being about the same length as the eye, and a small mouth with the lower jaw being a little shorter than the upper jaw equipped with a limited number of three-pointed teeth. The anal fin originates under the third dorsal ray and has eight or nine rays, the caudal fin is deeply forked with a longer lower lobe, the dorsal fin has twelve to fourteen rays, the pectoral fins are long reaching past the anal fin base and the pelvic fins origin is nearer the anal fin origin than the pectoral fin base. Juveniles have one broadly flattened barbell. The lateral line is low on the body. They are covered with large smooth scales.
The Narrowhead Flyingfish is an oceanic pelagic species normally found far out at sea on the surface to depths of 60 feet. They reach a maximum length of 24 cm (9.4 inches). They feed on planktonic organisms and small fishes. In turn they are preyed upon by birds, dolphins, dolphinfish, marlins, porpoises, squids, and tuna. They have large pectoral fins and are capable of leaping and gliding considerable distances above the ocean surface. Reproduction is oviparous with the release of large sticky filaments that attach to floating or benthic weeds. They are found in Mexican waters of the Pacific with a limited range that includes the mouth of the Sea of Cortez from La Paz southward on the East Coast of Baja and to waters adjacent to Mazatlán along the coast of the mainland. The Narrowhead Flyingfish is a poorly studied species and very little is known about its actually behavioral patterns.
The Narrowhead Flyingfish is not an overly straightforward identification as it looks very much like several other flyingfishes. Some can be quickly eliminated as they have the dorsal fin ray counts of less than twelve. The exception are the Blackwing Flyingfish, Hirundichthys rondeletii (anal fin origin under the dorsal fin origin) and the Smallhead Flyingfish, Cheilopogon pinnatibarbatus (pelvic fins nearer gill cover than caudal fin base).
The Narrowhead Flyingfish are seldom seen by North American individuals due to their oceanic habitat. They are however, a commercial species in Southeast Asia where they are caught win coastal waters on moonless nights with lights and dipnets.