Page last updated at 11:41 GMT, Tuesday, 20 May 2008 12:41 UK

Fast flying fish glides by ferry


The flying fish takes to the air

Some remarkable footage of a flying fish has been captured by a TV crew filming off the southern tip of Japan.

It is claimed to be one of the longest recorded flights of this acrobatic animal.

The fish was completely airborne for 45 seconds. This beats one previous, impressive report from an American researcher in the 1920s of 42 seconds.

The animal is seen travelling parallel to a ferry, which itself is motoring at about 30km/hour (20mph).

The fish was able to continue flying by occasionally beating the surface of the water with its tail fin. The footage was shot by an NHK crew as it travelled to Yakushima Island.

According to Junji Yonezawa, at the Center for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on Outlying Islands, the animal's flight-time of 45 seconds must be close to its physical limit, as brachial respiration is impossible while moving through the air.

There are some 40 species of "flying fish" in the family known as Exocoetidae. The animals are found worldwide in warmer waters.

Their flight ability comes from a glide rather than a powered flapping.

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