Tropical Two-wing Flyingfish, Exocoetus volitans
The Tropical Two-wing Flyingfish, Exocoetus volitans, whose Spanish common name is volador tropical, is a species in the family Exocoetidae, the Flyingfishes, known collectively as voladores in Mexico. Globally, there are only five species in the genus Exocoetus, three of which are found in Mexican waters, one in the Atlantic, one in the Pacific and one in both oceans.
The Tropical Two-wing Flyingfish has an elongated broadly cylindrical body. They are dark dorsally and silvery ventrally. The fins are pale to slightly dusky. They have short heads with short blunt snouts and small mouths without teeth. The anal fin origin is under the third dorsal ray and has twelve to fifteen rays, the caudal fin is deeply forked with a longer lower lobe, the dorsal fin has thirteen to fifteen rays, the pectoral fins are exceedingly long reaching to the caudal fin base, and, the pelvic fins are short not reaching the anal fin base with an origin that is closer to the pectoral fin base than the anal fin base. They have thirty two to thirty seven gill rakers. Juveniles have a hump on the nape and no barbells. The lateral line is low on the body. They are covered with large smooth scales.
The Tropical Two-wing Flyingfish is an oceanic pelagic species normally found far out at sea on the surface to depths of 65 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 all Mexican waters of the Atlantic; in the Pacific they are found from Todos Santos on the lower Southwest coast of Baja and along the West Coast of the mainland and absent from the Sea of Cortez. The Tropical Two-wing Flyingfish is a poorly studied species and very little is known about its actual behavioral patterns.
The Tropical Two-wing Flyingfish can be confused with the Barbel Flyingfish, Exocoetus monocirrhus (very dark caudal fin) and the Sailfin Flyingfish, Parexocoetus brachypterus (large dorsal fin with a very wide black margin).
The Tropical Two-wing Flyingfish is of limited interest to most.