Tropical Two-wing Flyingfish - Oceana

Ocean Fishes

Tropical Two-wing Flyingfish

Exocoetus Volitans


Worldwide in tropical to sub-tropical latitudes


Open ocean (epipelagic)

Feeding Habits

Foraging predator


Order Beloniformes (needlefishes and relatives), Family Exocoetidae (flyingfishes)


Tropical two-wing flyingfish feed on plankton crustaceans and other small invertebrates. They have large eyes and excellent eyesight and can therefore hunt and eat individual plankton. This is in stark contrast to the very large-bodied filter feeders (like the whale shark or basking shark), which blindly filter huge volumes of water in order to obtain sufficient food. Tropical two-wing flyingfish are a favorite prey species of swordfish, common dolphinfish, tunas, billfishes, and other open ocean predators. In its attempt to avoid predation, this flyingfish can glide for long distances above the water surface. For a predator that spends its entire life in the water, the flyingfish’s ability to glide is akin to being able to disappear.

Most flyingfishes live exclusively offshore, in the open ocean. Tropical two-wing flyingfish, however, occasionally also live closer to the coast and can be observed or captured inshore. Unlike some other species of flyingfishes that attach their eggs to floating objects, this species reproduces via broadcast spawning, where several females release their eggs and several males release their sperm into the surface water at the same time. This method increases the chance that eggs will become fertilized and decreases the likelihood that fertilized eggs will be eaten by egg predators.

The tropical two-wing flyingfish is a common species with a large geographic range and is not targeted by large-scale, commercial fisheries. Though its conservation status has not been determined by scientists, it is almost certainly a species of least concern.

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Oceana joined forces with Sailors for the Sea, an ocean conservation organization dedicated to educating and engaging the world’s boating community. Sailors for the Sea developed the KELP (Kids Environmental Lesson Plans) program to create the next generation of ocean stewards. Click here or below to download hands-on marine science activities for kids.

Kids Environmental Lesson Plans

Additional Resources:

IUCN Red List