That’ll Never Fly: 7 Amazing Wingless Flying Animals

Flying Fish

(images via: BBC, Loyola University and Blennywatcher)

Flying Fish are neither an evolutionary accident nor an isolated oddity; in fact there are more than 50 species of flying fish, all of which belong to the family Exocoetidae. Flying fish have evolved larger and longer pectoral fins over millions of years, leading to the conclusion that adding the air as an escape route bestows advantages to these creatures.

(image via: Sustainable Sushi)

Most species of flying fish utilize a single pair of enlarged fins to facilitate their airborne glides, some of which can last for up to 45 seconds and extend for 30 to 50 meters (up to 165 feet). Some species exhibit lengthened rear fins as well – while it may or may not improve their gliding technique, it definitely adds to their bizarre appearance!

Flying Lizards

(images via: outdoors2magic, Mudfooted and Mother Nature Network)

Flying Lizards: quirky New Wave band or airborne reptiles? Both, actually, but we’re here to discuss the latter. As many as 28 species of Draco Lizards live in forested areas of Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka. More gliders than flyers, lizards of this remarkable genus are able to unfold webbed extensions of their side ribs when they’re ready to leap through the air. Their technique is surprisingly effective, allowing them to glide as far as 60 meters (195 feet) while only losing about 10 meters (33 feet) of altitude in transit.

(images via: Learn With Technolgy and Aqualand Fact Sheets)

Several species of Gecko are also able to glide short distances. To facilitate these leaps into the wild blue yonder, these lizards have evolved fin-like flaps of skin that extend laterally from their heads, sides, legs and feet. No word on whether an unsuccessful glide or two affects their auto insurance premiums.