Also known as Batfish, Flying Fish, Grunt Fish, Helmet Gurnard, Sea Robin.
Found resting, or "flying" over mud, rock, and sandy bottoms, foraging for food with their Pectoral fins, over coral and rocky reefs. Can vary in depth of colour when threatened.
They feed on clams, crustaceans, and small fish.
Length - 50cm
Depth - 1-100m
Widespread Eastern Atlantic, Western Atlantic, Caribbean, Mediterranean
The Flying Gurnard has huge, round Pectoral fins. The fins are usually held against the body, but when threatened they can expand their wings (fins) to scare off a predator.
The pelvic fins act like legs as the fish walks along the bottom of the ocean. They also grunt. French term for the word Gurnard means to grunt. Ref: https://www.fishbase.se/summary/1021
Saw this fish in north of Mallorca on sand around 5m deep
In the Indo-Pacific it is called Helmut Gurnard - Dactyloptena orientalis http://www.whatsthatfish.com/fish/helmut-gurnard/132
Saw this gurnard fish in Koolina lagoon, Oahu, Hawaii, today. Had to research it to find out what it was. Guess it's in the Pacific also.
While in Hilo,Hawaii, I photographed this fish. Nobody I talked to has ever seen it and did not know what it might be. It was in the Japanese Gardens in Hilo and the date was Feb12,2016.
I am currently on holiday in kiotari, Rhodes and spent about 45minutes today following one of these whilst snorkeling in about 3-5m of water. Fascinating watching it feed on whatever it was finding under small rocks!
I have observed these fish a lot in Cayman Islands and Jamaica. The forward fins really look like hands and are used to hunt in the sand. To me they look like a fish evolving to be something else....almost lizard like and ready to emerge from the water. Do the "hands" have 5 appendages like fingers? There is not enough information about this fascinating fish. They seem very gentle and if you are very calm and quiet, they let you observe them before they float away.
I have seen this fish on the North Coast of Cyprus in depths of around 5m. I was facinated by its unusual form
caught one in shallow sandy bottom in Tobago, Caribbean
I was snorkelling and saw a flying gurnard in shallow water in a reef area in Cancun. The gurnard moved slowly along the sandy bottom which had many small rocks. Sometimes the gurnard swam, other times it moved ahead using its forward fins as hands. I saw it push over several small rocks in its path and it got a tasty treat under one small rock. I moved over top and I spread my wings (arms) and it spread its wings in response.
I've seen five big flying gurnards while spear fishing in the Corinthian Gulf in Greece. Could have easily shot all of them, but didn't have the heart. They are beautiful and seem quite intelligent.
Caught a flying gurnard in 60ft water using a sprat just of the coast of Mazarron Spain at La Athoria today at 4.30pm. No fight but was happy to catch such a pretty fish at about 2lbs so put it back in the Med.
Caught a flying gurnard yesterday here in Pensacola, FL!!
In the Indo Pacific this fish is known by another name, but is essentially the same fish, see link. http://www.whatsthatfish.com/fish/helmut-gurnard/132
I have spotted the Flying Gurnard in a specific area in Tanzania. I guess they are wider spread than we thought.
In the lagoons of Rezunion especially in St Pierre you can find this fish it is named Grondin Volant in French