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Ocean flish

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Oceanflish

Ocean flish have filled the niches left by the extinction of seabirds and have taken to the air in true flight. They have sharp teeth on powerful protrusile jaws which snap out to pluck prey from the waves.

Ocean flish are a typical group of flish that associate themselves with their ancestral home of the Global Ocean in The Future is Wild. A typical ocean flish is about the size of a seagull. It can flap up to eight times a second.

A muscular fin base, in the space once occupied by the gills, supports a broad aerodynamic wing surface that can flap up to eight times a second or faster. In full flight, ocean flish flap their wings for a few seconds and then glide, looking for prey in the waves below.

These flish that fill the skies above the Global Ocean have evolved into myriad species and exploit all the gaps that were once occupied by flying seabirds. Tern-sized ocean flish dive for silverswimmers shoaling below the surface. Duck-sized ocean flish skim plankton from the waves. Albatross-sized ocean flish migrate for vast distances to follow the main silverswimmer shoals. Skua-sized ocean flish attack other ocean flish to rob them of their catches. All have protrusile jaws which can be pointed to the left or right. This increases the ability of the ocean flish to pluck prey from the surface of the water.

When ocean flish rest they do so on the surface of the ocean, floating like the extinct seabirds, buoyed up by the air in their lungs, fat stores around their chest and watertight insulating scales. Their flying fins are stretched sail-like over their backs and their muscular pelvic fins reach down into the sea like a ship's keel, steadying the animals as they float.

To achieve takeoff ocean flish have developed a modified tail. Their ancestors used to propel themselves forward by beating a vertical caudal fin from side to side. The ocean flish's tail, however, is rotated by 90 degrees and moves up and down, like the fluke of a whale. A powerful forward thrust with the tail can lift a floating ocean flish clear of the surface, and the first sweep of its flying fins can have the creature airborne immediately.

Larger species of ocean flish can also launch themselves into the wind as it blasts across the crests of the waves of the open ocean. The lateral spread of the caudal fin provides a control surface, allowing the flish to steer and maneuver while in flight.

At dusk, flocks of ocean flish return to the rocky outcrops of the coastal cliff faces to roost. Bobbing on the surface of the water makes flish a tasty target for swimming predators and so they have found a safe haven among the rocks.

Like any flish, ocean flish have cast off the last vestiges of their aquatic heritage. They return to the ocean only to hunt.

Above the waves, flocks of ocean flish wheel and circle, following the silverswimmer shoals as they skin through the rich green plankton. Now and again, scales flash in the sun as a flish folds its wings and swoops into the waves disappearing for a moment and then splashing upwards with a captured silverswimmer squirming in its extended jaws.

Sometimes unexpectedly, however, a rainbow squid will deceive an ocean flish or two by changing its colors to mimic the glitter of a silverswimmer shoal. Those fooled flish swoop down and end up being snatched by huge tentacles, pulled underwater and then eaten by the gigantic cephalopod.

Large numbers of ocean flish are carried over the coastal mountains of Novopangea from the Global Ocean with every hypercane. By the time their carcasses tumble into the dust of the Rainshadow Desert, they have been battered and desiccated by the ferocious winds. Here and there across the arid landscape lie 'flishwrecks' - whole flocks dropped in a small area.

A flishwreck is a valuable source of nourishment to all kinds of desert-dwelling animals. The bumblebeetle, however, has evolved to rely exclusively on this food supply.

The Future is Wild Species
5 Million Years BabookariCarakillerCryptileDeathgleanerDesert rattlebackGannetwhaleGrykenScrofaShagratSnowstalkerSouth American rattlebackSpink
100 Million Years FalconflyFalse spitfire birdGrass treeGreat blue windrunnerLurkfishOcean phantom
PoggleRed algaeReef gliderRoachcutterSilver spiderSpindletrooperSpitfire beetleSpitfire birdSpitfire treeSwampusToraton
200 Million Years BumblebeetleDeathbottleDesert hopperForest flishGarden wormGloomwormLichen treeMegasquidOcean flishRainbow squidSharkopathSilverswimmerSlickribbonSlithersuckerSquibbonTerabyte

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