Sharpchin Flyingfish

Sharpchin Flyingfish, Fodiator acutus

The Sharpchin Flyingfish, Fodiator acutus, whose Spanish common name is volador picudo is a species in the Flyingfish or Exocoetidae Family, known collectively as voladores in Mexico. Globally, this is only species in the genus Fodiator, and it is found in Mexican waters of the Pacific.

The Sharpchin Flyingfish have elongated broadly cylindrical bodies. They are an iridescent blue color on their back and upper sides and silver ventrally with gray “wings”. Their dorsal fin is black and their anal and pelvic fins are transparent. In juveniles the pelvic fins have black tips and the first and last 5 of the 13 pectoral rays are transparent (black in adults). Juveniles do not have a chin barbel. Their head has a pointed snout that is longer than the width of the eyes and a protruding lower jaw. Their anal fin is under the third dorsal ray and has ten to twelve rays; their caudal fin is deeply forked with a longer lower lobe; and their dorsal fin has nine or ten rays. Their pectoral fins are behind the dorsal fin origin and are relatively short for a flyingfish but they do reach the dorsal fin origin. Their pelvic fins are short with the origin nearer the anal fin origin than the dorsal fin origin and do not reach the anal fin origin. They have a branched lateral line that reaches the pectoral fin base. Their lateral line is low on the body. They are covered with large smooth scales.

The Sharpchin Flyingfish are an oceanic pelagic species normally found on the surface to depths of 20 feet. They are occasionally found in coastal waters. They reach a maximum length of 25.0 cm (9.8 inches). They feed on planktonic organisms and small fish. In turn they are preyed upon by birds, dolphins, dorados, 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. They are a poorly studied species and very little is known about their behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the Sharpchin Flyingfish are found in all waters of the Pacific.

The Sharpchin Flyingfish is straightforward to identify among flyingfish due to its unique head profile and thus cannot be confused with any other species.

The Sharpchin Flyingfish are small and of limited interest to most.

Sharpchin Flyingfish (1)Sharpchin Flyingfish (2)Sharpchin Flyingfish (3)

Sharpchin Flyingfish, Fodiator acutus. Fish provided by the commercial bait salesman of Puerto Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, June 2007. Length: 18.0 cm (7.1 inches).

Sharpchin Flyingfish, Fodiator acutus. Fish provided by the commercial fishermen of Bahía Kino, Sonora, March 2015. Length: 17.0 cm (6.7 inches). Photo and identification courtesy of Maria Johnson, Prescott College Kino Bay Center, Kino Bay, Sonora.

Sharpchin Flyingfish, Fodiator acutus. Fish caught from coastal waters off Loreto, Baja California Sur, November 2016. Length: 17.5 cm (6.9 inches). Catch and photo courtesy of Chris Wheaton, Fullerton, California.