Flying Gurnard
Dactylopterus volitans
    Ecological Descriptors
Habitat Size (cm) Diet Behaviour Sex 
Be 90 Cru, Mol, Pisc, I F
Body in shades of gray to yellow brown with white spots. Snout blunt.
Pectoral fins very large and fan-like, often with a brilliant, iridescent blue line and pale dot markings.  Pectoral fin reaches to tail (unlike most Sea Robins). short, rounded nose (unlike similar Sea Robin species).  A long, keeled spine extending posteriorly from the nape to below midbase of first dorsal fin; angle of preopercle also bearing a long spine, with a serrate keel; jaws with a band of small nodular teeth. Spinous and soft dorsal fins separated by a deep notch; It has sharp cephalic spines which are covered in venomous/poisonous glands.

Benthic on mud, sand or over rocks in sandy areas, exploring bottom with the free part of the pectoral fins. The sudden spreading of the colourful pectoral fins alarms potential predators. Usually observed foraging in sand channels as opposed to directly on reefs and mainly feeds on benthic crustaceans, especially crabs, clams and small fishes. Only member of the genus.

Depths to about 80 m (190ft); capable of “walking” on the bottom by alternately moving the pelvic fins while using the short pectoral-fin rays to scratch in the sand, probably in searching of food.  When the fish is alarmed, the pectoral fins are spread laterally.

Life Cycle:
Pelagic eggs and larvae.
Flying Gurnard
Flying Gurnard
(C) Roberto Pillon