Video: Flying fish clocks 45-seconds in air staff and news service reports
updated 5/21/2008 1:05:26 PM ET 2008-05-21T17:05:26

A Japanese TV crew has filmed what is believed to be the longest flight of a flying fish ever recorded.

The NHK television network said one of its camera crews captured the 45-second flight on video on Monday, from a ferry near Kuchino-erabu island in southwestern Japan's Kagoshima Prefecture. The crew was reportedly on its way to shoot footage for a nature documentary.

The fish can be seen occasionally beating its tail against the surface of the water to keep itself aloft. The ferry was traveling at a speed of about 20 mph (30 kilometers per hour) during the encounter, NHK said.

More than 50 species of flying fish, in the marine family known as Exocoetidae, are found in warmer ocean waters worldwide. They can rise out of the water to avoid predators underneath, and stretch out its long pectoral fins to glide through the air.

Usually the fish remain airborne for just a few seconds before landing back in the water — but as Monday's video demonstrated, they can give themselves another boost with their tail fins. The previous record for a fish's compound flight was 42 seconds, reported from Florida by a sea captain with a stopwatch in 1928.

Other experts have cited flights lasting 28 seconds.

A 45-second flight may well be close to the physical limit for a flying fish, since the creature must suspend brachial respiration in the air, NHK reported.

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