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Hatchet Fish

Think fish, think swimming.  As we’ve explored, sometimes they even take to the land.  If that’s not good enough, how about the air?  Most major groups of animals have exploited this environment with one species or more: the mammals (bats), reptiles (some snakes and lizards can glide from tree to tree), amphibians (a few tree frogs can also glide), insects (flies!) and birds (but not all of them…).  Fish are no exception.  While not true powered flight, which is limited to birds, insects and mammals, some commonly kept aquarium species are adept at taking to the air and achieving a sustained glide.  Freshwater hatchet fish, such as those in the Gasteropelecus genus, can glide for over 3 meters!  Considering these fish are little over 5 cm, that’s not an insignificant distance.  As they spend all their time just below the water’s surface, they are in a prime position to leave the water at a moment’s notice, using their enlarged pectoral fins to go airborne to avoid the gaping maw of a potential predator.

Image credit: PetPonder

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Tagged in: Aquatic Adaptations