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Swordfish illustration

Swordfish

World Record ~ 1182 Lbs Caught in Iquique, Chile on May 7, 1953 by angler Louis Marron

Scientific name ~ Xiphias Gladius

Other names ~  Broadbill, Broadbill Swordfish, Sword Fish

Identification ~ The Swordfish has a stout rounded body with large eyes. Broadbill swordfish, as the name suggests, carry a large broad, sword-like, bill which is around one-third of the overall length of the fish. They are a blackish-brown, with a hint of purple, on their backs fading to light brown or cream on the belly. Adults have no teeth or scales. They have two widely separated dorsal fins, no pelvic fins at all and a large keel on each side of the wrist of the tail.

Size ~ At one time Swordfish reached well over a thousand pounds but it would appear that those days are gone due to over fishing by commercial longlines. A Swordfish that even weighs 400 pounds is rare and most angler caught Swordfish weigh from 90 to 200 pounds. All Swordfish should be released as numbers have become to low.

Habitat ~ The swordfish is found in oceanic regions worldwide, including the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. It is found in tropical, temperate, and sometimes cold waters, with a latitudinal range of approximately 60N to 45S. The swordfish is a highly migratory species, generally moving to warmer waters in the winter and cooler waters in the summer. Generally an oceanic species, the swordfish is primarily a midwater fish at depths of 650-1970 feet and water temperatures of 64 to 71F. Although mainly a warm-water species, the swordfish has the widest temperature tolerance of any billfish, and can be found in waters from 41-80F. The swordfish is commonly observed in surface waters, although it is believed to swim to depths of 2,100 feet.

Feeding Habits ~ Swordfish feed mostly upon pelagic fishes usually at night. Swordfish's diet consists of fish such as mackerel, menhaden, bluefish, silver hake, herring, dolphin, butterfish, and occasionally squid.. The sword is apparently used in obtaining prey, as squid and cuttlefishes commonly exhibit slashes to the body when taken from swordfish stomachs. A recent study found the majority of large fish prey had been slashed, while small prey items had been consumed whole.

 

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