Beautyfin Flyingfish, Cypselurus callopterus
The Beautyfin Flyingfish, Cypselurus callopterus, whose Spanish common name is volador bonito, is a species in the Flyingfish or Exocoetidae Family, known collectively as voladores in Mexico. This fish is also known as the Ornamental Flyingfish. Globally, there are twelve species in the genus Cypselurus, two of which are found in Mexican waters, both in the Pacific.
The Beautyfin Flyingfish have elongated cylindrical bodies. They are dark blue to blackish dorsally and silvery ventrally. Their anal fin is pale gray, their caudal fin is dark gray, and their pectoral and pelvic fins are yellow-brown with numerous black spots. They have a short head with a short blunt snout that is much shorter than the eye diameter. Their mouth is small with a limited number of small teeth and their lower jaw is a little shorter than their upper jaw. Their anal fin originates under the middle of the dorsal fin and has 8 to 10 rays; their caudal fin is deeply forked with the lower lobe being significantly larger than the upper lobe; their dorsal fin has 11 or 12 rays; and their pectoral fins are set high on the body and are extremely long reaching beyond the anal fin origin and past the mid-point of the dorsal fin. Their lateral line is low on the body. They are covered with large smooth scales.
The Beautyfin Flyingfish are an oceanic pelagic species found on the surface to depths of 17 feet. They reach a maximum length of 28 cm (11 inches). They feed on planktonic organisms and small fish. In turn they are preyed upon by birds, dolphins, dolphinfish, marlins, porpoises, squid, 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.
In Mexican waters the Beautyfin Flyingfish are found in all waters of the Pacific with the exception that they are absent from Magdalena Bay northward along the central and northwest coasts of Baja and from the northern half of the Sea of Cortez.
The Beautyfin Flyingfish is easy to identify and cannot be confused with any other species due to the unique striping of its wings.
The Beautyfin Flyingfish are seldom seen by humans. Due to their rarity, they are of limited value and interest to most.