Parexocoetus brachypterus   (Richardson,  1846) (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Actinopterygii

Image copyrights: Randall, J.E.

Size: Max length 20.0 cm TL (male/unsexed); common length 16.0 cm TL (male/unsexed).

Color: Bluish brown above, silvery below. Dorsal fin pale at base, outer half blackish. Anal fin hyaline. Caudal pale to dusky, base of median rays dark. Pectoral with black dots, more dense posteriorly, lower edges pale. Ventral hyaline, distal part of median rays dusky.

Head 3.8-4.2 in standard length, 4.9-5.4 in total length. Depth of body 4.6-4.9 in standard length, 5.9-6.3 in total length. Eye diameter 2.5-2.8 in head, 0.6 in snout and equal to flat interorbital space. Lower jaw projecting beyond the upper, with a prominent symphysial knob. Teeth in jaws minute, in several rows; teeth on vomer and tongue. Dorsal fin origin opposite to or slightly anterior to that of anal fin. Pectoral fin 2.0-2.2 times of head, nearly reaching middle of dorsal fin. Ventral fin shorter than head, scarcely reaching anal fin, its origin midway between front border of eye and base of caudal fin.
Number of spines and rays in the dorsal fin: 10-11; number of spines and rays in the anal fin: 10-11; number of rays in the pectoral fin: i, 11-12; number of spines and rays in the ventral fins: 6; number of scale rows along the lateral line: 39-40; number of scales along the dorsal mid-line of the head and back, anterior to the origin of dorsal fin: 17-18; gill raker count: 6-7+1+21-23.

Dioecious, external fertilization, spawning frequency two seasonal peaks per year. Nonguarders, open water/substratum egg scatterers. During breeding, a spawning aggregation composed at least of 3-4 individuals, probably 2-3 males to 1 female, were observed jumping and flying over the water surface, exuding ripe eggs and sperm in the process. Spawning on surface substrate (e.g. flotsam) when present is the usual reproductive mode but other modes may be employed if this substrate is not available. The fertilized eggs may remain suspended in the water surface during its development with the help of the small filaments on the egg surface and the adhesive filaments holding the egg mass together, by increasing the surface to volume ratio of the eggs, which aids in propping the eggs up in the water column. The eggs may also be suspended upon current or become benthic.

Remarks: Values in above description denote proportions.

Synonym (s)
Exocoetus atrodorsalis Gunther, 1867
(Junior synonym)
Exocoetus brachypterus Richardson, 1846
(Senior synonym)
Parexocoetus brachypterus brachypterus (Richardson, 1846)
(Senior synonym)
Parexocoetus brachypterus hillianus (Gosse, 1851)
(Ambiguous synonym)
Ptenonotus melanogeneion Pietschm, 1928
(Junior synonym)
Exocoetus brachypterus Richardson, 1846
Exocoetus mento Day, 1878
Parexocoetus brachypterus Weber and de Beaufort, 1922
Paraexocoetus brachypterus (Richardson, 1846)
Paraxocoetus brachypterus (Richardson, 1846)

Common Name (s)
• Sailfin Flyingfish (English)
• Parava (Malayalam)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial

Habitat:  Pelagic, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Secondary Consumer
Prey:  Zooplankton
Predator:  Fish (Scomberomorus cavalla), seabirds (Anous stolidus, Sterna fuscata), Amphipods, copepods, other crustaceans and bits of filamentous algae


• Lakshadweep, Kilttan INDIA
• Lakshadweep INDIA
• Red Sea
• Kerala, Off Kochi INDIA (Record: 03/1954-07/1955)
• Palk Bay INDIA
• West Bengal (Lat: 21.45) (Long: 87.9) INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Jones, S and Kumaran, M (1980) Fishes of the Laccadive Archipelago The Nature Conservation and Aquatic Sciences Service, Trivandrum, Kerala 760 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Froese, R and Pauly, D (2000) Fishbase 2000: Concepts, design and data sources ICLARM 344 pp Available at -
  • Fischer, W and Bianchi, G (Eds.) (1984) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Western Indian Ocean (Fishing Area 51) FAO, Rome 2 Available at -
  • Basheeruddin, S and Nayar, KN (1961) A preliminary study of the juvenile fishes of the coastal waters off Madras city Indian Journal of Fisheries Ernakulam, Cochin-ll, India 8 (1) 169-188 Available at -
  • Jones, S. (1969) Catalogue of fishes from the Laccadive Archipelago in the reference collections of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute. Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI, Cochin 8 1-35 Available at -
  • Murty, VS (1969) Catalogue of fishes (excluding from the Laccadives) in the reference collections of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI, Cochin 10 1-38 Available at -
  • Pillai, PKM and Augustine, SK (2000) A code list of common marine living resources of the Indian seas CMFRI Special Publication No.12 CMFRI 1-115 Available at -
  • Das, P; De, SP; Bhowmik, RM; Pandit, IK; Sengupta, R; Nandi, AC; Thakurta, SC and Saha, S (2007) Piscine diversity of West Bengal Fishing chimes 27(5) 15-28 Available at - NIO, Goa

Page last updated on:2012-01-09

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