Bangsi (Cypselurus poecilopterus) Yellow-wing Flying Fish
Today’s Marine Monday, National Museum Bohol features the streamlined, torpedo-shaped skillful gliders of the Bohol Sea, the Flying Fish of the Family Exocoetidae.
If you are looking out at sea while cruising Bohol, you’d be astounded to see fishes leap out of the water with their fins extended like sails. These are the Flying fishes locally known as Bangsi or Barongoy.
The Flying Fish or Bangsi belong to the family Exocoetidae. They are migratory and inhabit tropical and subtropical waters. Their name was derived from their ability to leap and glide above the water to get away and elude predators. Their natural predators include tuna, mackerel, swordfish, marlins, even dolphins, and birds like boobies and frigatebirds.
Flying fishes use their pectoral fins, which are almost as long or longer than their body length, by expanding them to serve as wings or sails and enable them to glide remarkable distances for over 30 seconds with an average speed of 70 km/h. Their tails are ossified and strong enough to propel them and make powerful leaps in the air. They have elongated cylindrical bodies with short heads and small blunt mouths and large eyes.
Adult flying fish can grow to a maximum size of 24 cm to 30 cm. They swim in schools on Epipelagic Zones feeding on planktons, small crustaceans, and fishes.
Flying fishes or Bangsi are very important food sources for large marine animals and also humans. There are at least 19 known flying fish species observed in the Philippines. They are one of the most important products of fishing communities around the Bohol Sea. Fishermen harvest them at night using gillnets lured with lights that they are attracted to.
There are three ways to prepare fish in Visayas and Mindanao known as Su-Tu-Kil (Sugba or grilled, Tula or soup, Kilaw or raw fish cooked in vinegar and local spices).
Text by NMP Bohol Team | NMP Zoology Division
Photo by Jasmin Meren | NMP Zoology Division