We've all probably seen a fish out of its element -- water -- at one point or another. And as you know, their behavior is usually marked by flopping around in a seemingly helpless manner. But scientists from Northern Arizona University recently studied the behavior of fish out of water in detail revealing they're not as doomed or helpless as they may seem.
First, watch this video of a few aquatic species and see the differences in their jumping capabilities:
New Scientist has more on the research:
The first fish in this video are purely aquatic, whereas a later example shows a killifish, which purposefully strands itself on land to escape water-dwelling predators. However, despite their different behaviours, they both have the remarkable physical ability to jump.
The researchers noticed that the jumping resembles underwater behaviour that allows fish to quickly escape predators. However, during land-based jumping, a fish spends a lot more time flexing its body. This allows it to store up more elastic energy, which is then used to generate lift.
Wired explains that the researchers used a wide variety of fish in their study and found that almost all of them had some sort of surprising leaping ability, without the traditional anatomical structures that one would expect to allow them to do so. The team is now looking into if the fish that are better jumpers could be poorer swimmers to "compromises" may have been made in favor of certain abilities.