Sunday, 11 September 2016

Flying gurnard - Dactylopterus volitans (Linnaeus, 1758) - Cyprus

The flying gurnard (Dactylopterus volitans), also known as the helmet gurnard, is a bottom-dwelling fish of tropical to warm temperate waters on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. On the American side, it is found as far north as Massachusetts (exceptionally as far as Canada) and as far south as Argentina, including the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. On the European and African side, it ranges from the English Channel to Angola, including the Mediterranean. Similar and related species from the genus Dactyloptena are found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

When excited, the fish spreads its "wings", which are semi-transparent, with a phosphorescent bright blue coloration at their tips. These are designed to scare away predators, but they don't enable the fish to glide in the air as do the fins of flying fish. The fish also has large eyes. It reaches up to 50 cm (20 in) in length and 1.8 kg (4.0 lb) in weight.

The fish's main diet consists of small fish, bivalves, and crustaceans


Photos and video by Costas Constantinou

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