An evolutionary tradeoff: “flying” in fish helps them escape fish predators, but exposes them to avian ones

Why Evolution Is True

I don’t know how the BBC manages to get this kind of footage, but their nature shows far outstrip any I’ve seen from other organizations. This short video on flying fishes comes from the “Hunger” episode of the “Oceans” series, and shows how the “flying” adaptation exposes them to new dangers, and new selection pressures. Presumably the advantage of escaping predatory fish outweighs the disadvantage of exposing yourself to predatory birds.

How do they “fly”, and how far? National Geographic reports that they can stay airborne for 400 meters, extending their flight by using their tails to taxi.

There are about 40 species of fish that can glide in this way, but I haven’t taken the time to see how many times the trait has evolved independently, or whether they’re all related and it evolved just once. Perhaps an astute reader can tell us.

h/t: Nicole Reggia

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