Exocoetus volitans

Common Name

Tropical Two-wing Flyingfish

Year Described

Linnaeus, 1758


Dorsal Fin: 13-15
Anal Fin: 12-14
Pectoral Fin: 14-16
Gill Rakers: 29-37 (first arch)
Predorsal Scales: 16-21
Transverse Scale Rows: 6-7
Vertebrae: 43-45

Body elongate with a round cross-section. Head length 3.6-3.9 in SL. Eye diameter 3.5-3.9 in HL. Jaw teeth absent. Lower and upper jaws subequal. Palatine teeth absent. Pectoral fins long (1.3-1.4 in SL) with first ray unbranched, fin reaching to caudal fin base. Pelvic fins short (6.5-7.6 in SL), well short of anal fin origin, with pelvic origin closer to pectoral base than anal fin origin. Dorsal fin low (longest ray more than 10 times in SL). Origin of anal fin under 1st-3rd dorsal fin ray; fins of almost equal size. Caudal fin forked with the lower lobe longer than upper. Lateral line low on side. Pectoral branch of lateral line absent. Juveniles <40mm not deep-bodied (body depth 4.8-5.3 in SL) and no chin barbel(s).


Dark blue to gray above, abruptly paler below. Pectoral fins gray with a paler posterior margin. Dorsal and caudal fins gray. Anal and pelvic fins transparent. Juveniles with dark bars on body and dark markings on the dorsal and anal fins.


Maximum size to 19cm SL.


Pelagic over deep waters. Copepod feeder with pelagic eggs.


Oceanic: between 30°N and 30°S in the tropical Atlantic, including the deep waters of the SE Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.


Parin, N.V. 2002. Exocoetidae (pp 1116-1134). In: Carpenter. 2002. The living marine resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Vol. 2: Bony fishes part 1 (Acipenseridae-Grammatidae). FAO Species Identification Guides for Fisheries Purposes. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists Special Publication No. 5.

Other Notes

Records of the eastern Atlantic two-winged flyingfish Fodiator acutus from the Caribbean appear to be erroneous as there are no existing specimens to verify the occurrence.