Fun Oriental Flying Gurnard Facts For Kids

Nidhi Sahai
Oct 20, 2022 By Nidhi Sahai
Originally Published on Mar 23, 2022
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat
Oriental flying gurnard facts about this colorful fish.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.5 Min

The flying gurnard (family Dactylopteridae) is a small group of marine fish in the Dactylopteridae family (order Scorpaeniformes). Flying gurnards are related to sea robins (family Triglidae, order Scorpaeniformes) and are frequently regarded as relatives of that group (see sea robin).

They are most abundant in Indo-pacific waters. Flying gurnards are slender fishes with very large pectoral fins that are separated into a shorter forward half and a much bigger wing-like posterior section.

The eyes are wide apart on its broad head. Their diet has small fishes, crustaceans, and tunicates.

They are found in warm and tropical oceans. These fins are highly colorful.

For example, those of Dactylopterus volitans, a species of flying gurnard found in the Atlantic and Mediterranean seas. Flying gurnards also have a bony plate covering on their heads, as well as a single dorsal fin ray that is isolated from the rest of the fin and positioned on the nape of the neck.

Flying gurnards can reach a maximum size of 20 in (50 cm). They are bottom feeders, although their outspread pectoral fins are said to allow them to float just above water for small distances.

Oriental Flying Gurnard Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Oriental flying gurnard?

The oriental flying gurnard (Dactyloptena orientalis) is a type of fish, which is also called purple flying gurnard or Oriental flying gurnard.

What class of animal does an Oriental flying gurnard belong to?

These marine creatures belong to phylum Chordata, class Actinopterygii, order Syngnathiformes, family Dactylopteridae, and genus Dactyloptena. Their scientific name is Dactyloptena orientalis.

How many Oriental flying gurnards are there in the world?

They are under the category of the Least Concern, they are quite in abundance in the marine world.

Where does an Oriental flying gurnard live?

The oriental flying gurnard (Dactyloptena orientalis) is found throughout the Indo-Pacific region's tropical seas, including the Red Sea. Its distribution stretches from East Africa's shores to Polynesia and Australia's western, northern, and eastern coasts. It can be found on the seafloor in bays, estuaries, and sandy areas, usually at depths of around 33 ft (10 m).

What is an Oriental flying gurnard's habitat?

The tropical Indo-Pacific distribution region is home to the Oriental flying gurnard. Because their camouflage performs best in a sandy bottom, they are mainly found on sandy bottoms or within sandy portions of a reef.

They are occasionally seen on sand-interspersed rubble reefs. In Tanzania, they've been seen at depths of 13-98 ft (4-30 m), but they've also been seen at 328 ft (100 m). They are normally only seen when they move, due to their camouflage.

Who do Oriental flying gurnards live with?

Oriental flying gurnards are social creatures and typically live in groups of two to six individuals.

How long does an Oriental flying gurnard live?

Oriental flying gurnards can live for up to five years.

How do they reproduce?

Due to the complexity in studying their activity, little is known about the oriental flying gurnard's reproductive behavior. Their eggs are known to be non-adhesive and are discharged into the substrate.

Rarely, juveniles can be seen swimming freely in the top levels of the substrate, presumably grazing on plankton. Because we have never seen young ones out during the day, it is presumed that they hide in the day and eat at night.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of these fishes according to the red list of IUCN as Least Concern.

Oriental Flying Gurnard Fun Facts

What do Oriental flying gurnards look like?

The oriental flying gurnard is a box-shaped fish with extra-large pectoral fins and thick armor. The body tapers down to a thin tip on the dorsal fin, and the head is big. The dorsal fin contains seven spines.

The color is brown with reddish-brown patches and a little blueish tint in some areas. Underwater, the pelvic fins look purple, but when adequately lighted, they turn a pale shade blue and yellow striped appearance. Pelvic fins are like the legs of the fish.

Flying gurnards also have a bony plate covering on their heads

How cute are they?

They are very cute fish. Having an attractive color combination and dark spots on their body, they are very appealing to the eyes.

How do they communicate?

The research is very limited on their communication skill, but like other fishes, they might also have some specific sounds of different frequencies to communicate with their mates during the time of danger or while searching for food.

How big is an Oriental flying gurnard?

The oriental flying gurnard is 8 in (20 cm) in length. The pupils of this fish species are surrounded by a red ring.

Dorsal fins are thin and frequently extend upwards. When observed at night, the full-body has a blueish color as compared to the daytime, however, this tint fades fast if kept in the light. They can grow to be up to 15 in (40 cm) long, however, most specimens seen are closer to 11 in (30 cm).

How fast can an Oriental flying gurnard swim?

Oriental flying gurnards can swim up to 15 mph (24 kph)! That's pretty fast for a fish! These creatures are fascinating and well worth a closer look. Next time you're near the water, keep an eye out for these amazing animals. Who knows, you may just see one swimming gracefully through the waves.

How much does an Oriental flying gurnard weigh?

The exact weight of this fish is not known, but the weight is somewhere around 0.5 lb (226 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names given to the male and female sexes of these species.

What would you call a baby Oriental flying gurnard?

The baby of the oriental flying gurnard (Dactyloptena orientalis) does not have any specific name.

What do they eat?

It's a bottom-dwelling carnivore that has diet of invertebrates, crabs, and probably other small fish. In-tank life, this fish has thrived on dry or freezed (thawed) shrimp, crustaceans, shells included, as well as bits of fish, crab, and other seafood. This fish is an excellent scavenger and can assist in keeping the tank's bottom clean.

Are they dangerous?

No, these species are not dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, these fishes can make a good pet if you are providing them with their natural environments like conditions and food.

Did you know...

Because of the grunting sound this fish produces, their name is taken from the French term 'gurnard,' which means 'to grunt.'

Oriental flying gurnards are not typically kept in aquariums due to their size. Some public aquariums, as well as expert collectors, may preserve them. They would necessitate a very huge aquarium because of their size.

Is the flying gurnard edible?

The information on whether they are edible or not is very limited.

Why do flying gurnards have wings?

When scared, it extends its 'wings', making itself appear larger to predators. These wings also aid the fish in blending in with its environment on the bottom of the reef. Keep the aquarium covered at all times. If the fish is frightened or aroused, it can simply jump out of the aquarium.

*We've been unable to source an image of Oriental flying gurnard and have used an image of a flying gunard instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of Oriental flying gurnard, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

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Written by Nidhi Sahai

Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication

Nidhi Sahai picture

Nidhi SahaiBachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication

Dedicated and experienced, Nidhi is a professional content writer with a strong reputation for delivering high-quality work. She has contributed her expertise to esteemed organizations, including Network 18 Media and Investment Ltd. Driven by her insatiable curiosity and love for journalism and mass communication, Nidhi pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, graduating with distinction in 2021. During her college years, she discovered her passion for Video Journalism, showcasing her skills as a videographer for her institution. Nidhi's commitment to making a positive impact extends beyond her professional pursuits. Actively engaging in volunteer work, she has contributed to various events and initiatives throughout her academic career.

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Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

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Sonali RawatBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali has a Bachelor's degree in English literature from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and is currently pursuing a Master's in English and Communication from Christ University. With considerable experience in writing about lifestyle topics, including travel and health, she has a passion for Japanese culture, especially fashion, and anime, and has written on the subject before. Sonali has event managed a creative-writing festival and coordinated a student magazine at her university. Her favorite authors are Toni Morrison and Anita Desai.

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