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What are Skyfish?

Michael Anissimov
Updated May 21, 2024
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Skyfish are cryptozoological entities, in the same vein as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, but more recently reported, starting only in the early 90s. Another name for skyfish are "rods." Allegedly, skyfish are rod-shaped animals that flit around in the air so fast that we cannot see them. One of the only ways to observe them are to use video cameras, which take snapshots that reveal the skyfish when human eyes cannot. Most skyfish reports come from Japan or the United States.

On camera, skyfish appear as rods with undulating fins on either side, much like the fins of the cuttlefish. Sometimes they are called visitors from another dimension. In Japan, there are even people who say they can catch skyfish with nets.

The idea of skyfish taps into occasional reports throughout the last century of "atmospheric beasts," animals that live in the sky but cannot be seen, because of an ephemeral body type (like jellyfish), dwelling at high altitudes, or for some other reason. Some have said that "star jelly," a gelatinous material often found on the ground near the location of meteorite falls, may be related to atmospheric beasts.

Skyfish have been featured on TV specials, in tabloids, and even in video games. Are there really rod-shaped skyfish that move so quickly through the air that they cannot be seen? An analysis of human vision tells us that a skyfish would need to move between 100 and 500 mph to be invisible to the human eye - depending on its length and opacity. No bird or insect flies at this rate for extended periods of time, though some birds, such as the Peregrine falcon, do reach speeds of 240 mph on steep dives.

Unfortunately for enthusiasts, skyfish were proven to be fake sometime around 2003. The vast majority of skyfish evidence comes from video footage. Video cameras pick up images at a rate of about 50 frames per second. Many insects beat their wings and travel so quickly that a single frame captures a blur of several wing beats and the path of the bug. This is the skyfish — a motion-blurred image of a flying insect. Investigators have found that "skyfish" images can be reproduced arbitrarily using the appropriate lighting, location, and subject.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Anissimov
By Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology, astronomy, chemistry, and futurism to his articles. An avid blogger, Michael is deeply passionate about stem cell research, regenerative medicine, and life extension therapies. His professional experience includes work with the Methuselah Foundation, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and Lifeboat Foundation, further showcasing his commitment to scientific advancement.
Discussion Comments
By anon1003280 — On Jun 03, 2020

I have plenty of video from my security cameras. These things are real.

By anon1003249 — On May 28, 2020

I have several videos of these on different cameras. These are certainly not "moths" or other "flying insects" (my cameras also capture those), and a light anomaly doesn't swoosh through the air. I have no idea what they are, but am not going so far as to say that they are anything but UFOs.

By anon347555 — On Sep 08, 2013

There are many, many rod videos, all of which can be explained as video/interlacing artifacts of fast moving insects positioned close to the camera. What's the irony of this? I saw a classic rod in the fall of 2011 while flying my powered parachute over North Liberty, Iowa. I was at 1,000 feet above ground level heading east over the city, when I noticed something in the sky at my 1 o'clock about 30 degrees above the horizon. My eyes locked on to what may have been a large insect or very small bird, and within a second or two it whizzed past within 15-20 feet of my cart.

I tracked it all the way, turning my head to follow it past. The entire sighting took about two seconds. My jaw dropped and I said to my passenger, holy cow, I just saw a rod! It was 12-16 inches in length and light colored (light grey to white, no noticeably strong colors), and was the classic narrow cylinder with undulating sinusoidal wings that ran the length of its body on both sides.

I have never seen anything like it, which is interesting, because if it is a common insect or bird that appears 'rodlike' because of lighting, speed, or other perceptual circumstance, one would expect to "see" them every once in a while.

The airspeed of my powered parachute is 30 mph, and I'd guesstimate this thing wasn't going all that fast, maybe 10-30 mph, which yields a maximum closing speed of approximately 60 mph. So the speeds involved in this encounter were not blinding. Something that small and that close only took a couple seconds to whiz by.

By anon132882 — On Dec 08, 2010

The reason that people think that these "Flying Rods", so to call them, is that they are really just moths and bugs just flying past the camera at faster speeds so they're blurred on film.

I did some research because I was curious, and found a list of videos that have prover that these 'U.F.O.s' are actually just a camera speed malfunction. These bugs are traveling at a frames-per-second speed that is too fast! I, personally think that whoever says that they've caught these "Flying Rods" and says that they are, in fact, rod shaped, are full of it!

By anon130680 — On Nov 29, 2010

I have conducted many experiments with Sky fish energies and have captured them in every season of the year. The most recent captures were in the winter time in 16 degree temps. I have set up sky fish tents to see if their energy was transparent and yes they are.

Bugs do not move in 16 degree weather, that is for sure!

By anon51295 — On Nov 04, 2009

I have yet to see any definitive proof that these things exist, so I will assume that their being proved fake is accurate.

It would be really cool, though, if something like this existed.

By anon33745 — On Jun 11, 2009

To thinks nothing has evolved to live in the sky in 5 Billion years. Land and sea have been crammed with life since the beginning.

I've been videoing lots of these entities. Shoot a close-up of a cloud and play that back in super slow motion. You'll see them.

By anon30098 — On Apr 14, 2009

Personally, I believe that skyfish are another demonic manifestation, just like ghostlights, orbs and ball lightning.

Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology...
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