Flying fish live in all of the oceans, particularly in tropical and warm subtropical waters. Their most striking feature is their pectoral fins, which are unusually large, and enable the fish to hide and escape from predators by leaping out of the water, taking short gliding flights through air just above the water's surface. Their glides are typically around 50 metres (160 ft).
To glide upward out of the water, a flying fish moves its tail up to 70 times per second. It then spreads its pectoral fins and tilts them slightly upward to provide lift. At the end of a glide, it folds its pectoral fins to reenter the sea, or drops its tail into the water to push against the water to lift itself for another glide, possibly changing direction.