Note: Information is dated. Do not rely on it.Flying Fish. A name common to various fishes which have the power of sustaining themselves for a time in the air by means of their large pectoral fins. In American waters there are about 20 species, the most common belonging to the genera Exocaetus, Cypsilurus, and Parexocaetus. The pectoral fins, which are very large, are the principal instruments in their flight, serving to sustain the fish temporarily in the air after it has acquired an initial velocity in its rush through the water. It can pass through the air to a considerable distance, sometimes as much as 200 yards, which it does to escape from the attacks of other fishes, or when disturbed by passing vessels. It is most common between the tropics. The best-known species are Exocaetus volilans, abundant in the warmer parts of the Atlantic, Cypsilurus californicus, on the coast of California, and Parexoaetus mesogaster. Some species of flying fish are used for food.