Self-sacrificing fish

Flying fish can leave the water and soar great distances on their elongated fins to escape from predators below the waves. But finding a place to lay eggs in such a vast ocean isn't so easy. This shoal is in luck when they find a floating palm frond. The leaves act as a tiny island or raft in the vast expanse providing shelter for their eggs. The females lay their eggs on the leaves, and the males fertilise them there. Gradually, more and more are encouraged to spawn and thousands join in the frenzy. Working their way under the frond fibres, some of the fish become entombed and, under the weight of so many eggs, the palm frond and its cargo sinks to the depths. Though this is the death of the enmeshed adults, this is far from a disaster for the cargo of fertilised eggs. Sinking actually improves the chances of survival and in just a few days, having been safely hidden in the depths, the eggs begin to hatch.

Release date: 29 Oct 2009

4 minutes

Credits

Role Contributor
NarratorDavid Attenborough
ProducerMartha Holmes
Executive ProducerMichael Gunton

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