Wing design and scaling of flying fish with regard to flight performance



Fin and body dimensions of six genera of flying fish (Exocoetidae) were examined to study variation in morphological parameters in relation to aerodynamics performance. The fins are modified as wings for gliding flight. Fin area and fin span increase with increasing body mass, whereas the percentage of wing area contributed by the pectoral fins and the percentage of the caudal fin area contributed by the hypocaudal lobe remain constant. The aerodynamic design of flying fish approximates the monoplane-biplane classification proposed by Breder (1930). Scaling relationships for wing loading and aspect ratio indicate that wing morphology in the Exocoetidae is more similar to birds and bats than to other gliders. The flight performance of flying fish is a high-speed glide with a relatively flat trajectory. The wing, as indicated by the aspect ratio, is designed for high lift with low drag characteristics.