Photos of The Amazing World of Flying Fish

Photographer Steve Howell’s images capture the beauty and power of flying fish and illustrates how they fly.

Steve Howell, one of the leading pelagic and bird tour leaders in the world, reveals the strangeness, power, and beauty of these creatures in this sneak peek of his book, The Amazing World of Flying Fish. Howell calls them "ocean butterflies" — when seeing them in action, one cannot argue with that. — SF Eds.

01 this rosy-veined clearwing slips quietly back into the water after a flight.jpg
This Rosy-veined Clearwing slips quietly back into the water after a flight.Steve Howell
02 in a scene reminiscent of a seaplane landing, an atlantic patchwing touches down.jpg
In a scene reminiscent of a seaplane landing, an Atlantic Patchwing touches down.Steve Howell
03 flyingfish face many predators. here, a red-footed booby gives chase. .jpg
Flyingfish face many predators. Here, a Red-footed Booby gives chase.Steve Howell
04 this leopardwing spreads its hindwings as it shifts from an upright to horizontal position during take off.jpg
This Leopardwing spreads its hindwings as it shifts from an upright to horizontal position during take off.Steve Howell
05 flyingfish come in a wide range of colors. here, a thrushwing shows off its speckled pink wings.jpg
Flyingfish come in a wide range of colors. Here, a Thrushwing shows off its speckled pink wings.Steve Howell
05b a yellow bandwing in flight.jpg
A Yellow Bandwing in flight.Steve Howell
06 the complex patterns of the wings of this sargassum midget may camouflage them as they swim among weed masses.jpg
The complex patterns of the wings of this Sargassum Midget may camouflage them as they swim among weed masses.Steve Howell
07 identification of flyingfish is hampered because they quickly lose their coloring upon death. the pale median band on this specimen was likely bright blue in life.jpg
Identification of flyingfish is hampered because they quickly lose their coloring upon death. The pale median band on this specimen was likely bright blue in life.Steve Howell
08 the initial thrust for their flight is provided by their tail which they use as a propeller, thrashing it back and forth at great speed and leaving a tell-tale pattern behind.jpg
The initial thrust for their flight is provided by their tail which they use as a propeller, thrashing it back and forth at great speed and leaving a tell-tale pattern behind.Steve Howell
09 identifying flyingfish is difficult and many are named in the field. flying-fish watchers call this a fenestrated naffwing.jpg
Identifying flyingfish is difficult and many are named in the field. Flying-fish watchers call this a Fenestrated Naffwing.Steve Howell
10 this atlantic patchwing is a streamlined, swimming torpedo underwater.jpg
This Atlantic Patchwing is a streamlined, swimming torpedo underwater.Steve Howell
11 good places to see flyingfish include hawaii and the caribbean, but they can be found as far north as nova scotia.jpg
Good places to see flyingfish include Hawaii and the Caribbean, but they can be found as far north as Nova Scotia.Steve Howell