Sunday, November 29, 2009

Airborne fish

Explained: flying fish (1st image)
Flying fish are from the family Exocoetidae and are found in all oceans, but are more prevalent in tropical and subtropical waters. Their large pectoral fins allow them to leap out of the water to escape predators. They can glide above the surface for 160' at a time, but if they catch an updraft they can extend that "flight" to 1,300'! To do so, they vibrate their tail 50 to 70 times per second to generate speeds of more than 40mph. Their airborne actions have landed them on the decks of ships.

Unexplained: falling fish (2nd image)
The raining of fish is a rare meteorological phenomenon often ascribed to waterspouts picking the animals up from bodies of water and dropping them over land. This explanation, however, has never been observed or scientifically tested - and sometimes occurs in fair weather. Fish falls have been reported for centuries, with the fish sometimes alive, sometimes frozen, and sometimes in pieces. It happened in India in February 1830; Glamorganshire, U.K. in February 1859; Singapore in February 1861; Rhode Island, U.S.A., in May 1900; Powys, U.K., in August 2004; California, U.S.A., in December 2005; and just recently in Japan in July 2009 and India in October 2009. On occasion, a single fish is dropped by a bird, but this does not explain the rain of multiple fish!

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