Why Do Fish Jump Out Of The Water?

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You might think it's unnatural for fish to jump out of the water but you might be surprised that some of them do. Some fishes even "fly" out of the water. 

Defense Mechanism

There are several reasons why fish jump off the water. The most common cause is that they are being fished for and hunted.

Jumping out of the water is a defense mechanism of the fish. They want to get away from the hook and line and will try to dislodge it by jumping. They will shake and flop around violently in an effort to remove the hook from their lips. The largemouth bass is known to do this.

The most common example of fish jumping out for the water is Asian Carp. They tend to jump out when a boat passes by them. They often jump inside the ship and back in the water.

Some speculate that they are defending their territories. The likely answer, however, is that they are startled by the sudden appearance of a boat and the noise it produces.

They jump and can reach up to 4 meters in the air before descending. Anglers take advantage of the carp's behavior by deliberately passing by them and shooting them as they jump out of the water.

Migration Pattern

Another reason why fish jump out of water is that they have to migrate and part of the migration trail is a waterfall. The fish called Ayu have to cross waterfalls when they migrate. They jump towards the top of the waterfall to get to the other side. Talk about determination!

Salmon are also known to swim against the current. They are not shy to jump waterfalls either in order to get to where they are going. The drive to procreate is that strong.

Low Oxygen Level

In specific instances that the water pH level is high and the oxygen is low, fish jump out of the water to breathe in oxygen.

The most common example of fish who do this are the killifishes. They jump on to land to reach "greener" bodies of water rich with oxygen.

The common cause of low oxygen could be the increased presence of algae in the water. There could also be human-made liquids in the water such as oil and other irritants.

Fish inside the aquarium can also suffer from low water quality. If the water has been improperly cycled, the fish are forced to jump out because of a high ammonia concentration or increased acidity in the water.

If the water is dirty, there will be less oxygen in it.

Big Predator Fish

Predator fish also jump out of the water when they are hunting for small fish. They also feed on small insects near or outside the water.

The African butterfly fish is the perfect example of this kind of behavior. Their eyes are designed to find these small insects. Once they see their prey, they can jump out of the water and glide for a while to hunt them. The marbled hatchetfish has also been observed to jump off of the water to prey on small insects.

The typical small insects that find then to feed on are mosquitoes, flies, water skippers, moths and other small insects. 

Must Have Sex

Some fish jump out of the water to find and reach a potential mate. Salmon is again the best example of this. They will travel back to the place they were born to mate and ultimately die from the journey. They will overcome any obstacle that comes their way. They will jump small waterfalls, rocks, fallen logs, thick vegetation and the like.

Parasite Cleaning

It definite sound unusual but some fish, mainly manta rays, jump out of the water to rid themselves of pesky parasites like argues. They also do it to remove loose scales and external debris or garbage.

There is an ongoing debate as to why manta rays jump. Some say it's a mating ritual. Others think that they are trying to remove parasites off of their bodies.

When they do breach the water, they do amazing flips and turns. No one knows why but they sure are graceful even outside the water.

In a Nutshell

In conclusion, there are various reasons why fish jump out of the water. The most common ones are as a defense mechanism against being hunted and hunting itself.

The less common ones are mating rituals, parasite cleansing, and low oxygen levels.

We hope we have answered your query!

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