Exocoetidae is a family of marine fish in the order Beloniformes of class Actinopterygii. Fish of this family are known as flying fish. There are about sixty-four species grouped in seven to nine genera. Flying fish can make powerful, self-propelled leaps out of water into air, where their long, wing-like fins enable gliding flight for considerable distances above the water's surface. This uncommon ability is a natural defense mechanism to evade predators.
In May 2008, a Japanese television crew (NHK) filmed a flying fish (dubbed "Icarfish") off the coast of Yakushima Island, Japan. The creature spent 45 seconds in flight. The previous record was 42 seconds.
Flying fish can use updrafts at the leading edge of waves to cover distances of at least 400 m (1,300 ft).They can travel at speeds of more than 70 kilometres per hour (43 mph). Maximum altitude is 6 m (20 ft) above the surface of the sea. Some accounts have them landing on ships' decks.