Spotted A Flying Gurnard At Kuhio (Waikiki) Beach

by Cary Bennett
(Roswell, GA)

Flying Gurnard...another first for me!!

Flying Gurnard...another first for me!!

I spotted a Flying Gurnard at Kuhio Waikiki Beach, but it took me a while to figure out what it was.

I was wading into the water after enjoying the sunshine on the beach across from the Marriott Waikiki Beach where we were staying last week, when I looked down and spotted something very strange on the bottom. I was watching out for coral chunks (ouch) and saw something on the bottom that I initially thought was a bit of seaweed rolling around, but a second later, I realized that it was not seaweed, instead, it was something crawling along the bottom.

It resembled a really large "dragonfly". It was sandy beige with light brown "bands" that created a great camouflage against the sandy bottom. It also had a single black "antennae-like" thing in the middle of the top of it's "head". It appeared to me to be 4 or 5 inches in length. I watched it for a couple of minutes (and, of course, I didn't have my camera in hand...drat) and walked over to the lifeguard to ask if he might know what it was. He had no idea. I grabbed my small tube (and camera) and laid across it so could float and scan the bottom. No luck. It was gone.

It wasn't until we went on the trip out to Turtles Canyon, and the guide who was briefing the novice scuba divers on the marine life they might encounter, was able to identify the critter for me. It was a "Flying Gurnard". Now, seriously, having grown up in Miami, Key Biscayne, and spent lots of time in The Keys, I am pretty well versed in marine life. But, this, I had never seen nor heard of!!! Another first! Above, I have posted a photo of a Flying Gurnard that I found online so that you can see what they look like.

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Oct 14, 2012
Spotted Gurnard
by: Tom & Jan Turner

We ran into our first Flying Gurnard in the Cayman Islands a couple of years ago. We were stumped also, and very impressed by the strange, beautiful characteristics of this fish. We have seen a few since then, always in the Caymans.

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