Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Xiphias gladius, Swordfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

sword flattened
D1 high, curved, short base
D2 & A2 tiny
C base - 1 keel
no pelvics

Xiphias gladius Linnaeus, 1758


An elongate, rounded body, tapering to rear; head large, with a very long, flattened bill; no teeth on jaws in adult; 1st dorsal fin short based, high, curved, 34-49, well separated from 2nd dorsal, (4-6),which is small, at rear of body; 1st anal fin 13-14, short based, fin long and curved, between the 2 dorsals, 2nd anal tiny, 3-4, under 2nd dorsal; pectoral fins low on the sides, 16-18; no pelvic fins; tail base with a large keel on each side and a deep notch above and below just before tail fin; tail fin large, strongly concave; no scales or lateral line in adult.

Blackish brown on back fading to light brown or silvery on sides; first dorsal fin dark blackish brown; other fins brown or blackish brown.

Maximum size 445 cm; all-tackle world rcord 537 kg.

Habitat: pelagic, oceanic.

Depth: 0-2878 m.

Circumglobal in tropical, temperate, and adjacent cold seas; Canada to Argentina.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Offshore
  • Offshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Mid Water
  • Near Surface
  • Surface
  • Water column only
  • Water column
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Pelagic crustacea
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 445
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 2878