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Species: Istiophorus platypterus, the Sailfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

+/- ~20 blue bars
D1 = large long sail, dark blue + black spots
pelvics very long, thin

Istiophorus platypterus (Shaw in Shaw & Nodder, 1792)

Sailfish

Body fairly compressed; bill long, slender, rounded in cross section; adults with small teeth; 1st dorsal fin long based, sail like, much higher than body depth, close to small 2nd dorsal, 1st 42-49 rays, 2nd 6-7 rays; pectoral fins long and pointed, 18-20 rays; pelvic fins very long, reach almost to anus; 2 anal fins, 1st 12-17 rays, 2nd 6-7 rays; 2 keels on side of tail base; tail fin large, strongly forked; body covered with small, triangular scales; lateral line visible, curved over pectoral, straight to base of tail fin.

Dark blue dorsally, light blue blotched with brown laterally, and silvery white ventrally; may display ~ 20 vertical bars on sides, each composed of many light blue round spots; membrane of first dorsal fin dark blue or blackish blue, with scattered, small black spots; remaining fins blackish brown to dark blue.

Size: grows to 360 cm; all-tackle world record 100.24 kg.

Habitat: coastal and oceanic pelagic.

Depth: 0-100 m.

Circumtropical in tropical and temperate seas; N Carolina to N Brazil

Note: Other than the fact that Indo-Pacific fish reach a larger size than Atlantic fish (100 kg vs 60 kg) there are no morphological differences between the two (see Collette et al 2006).


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Salinity
  • Marine
  • Marine Only
Inshore/Offshore
  • Inshore
  • Offshore
  • In & Offshore
Water Column Position
  • Near Surface
  • Surface
  • Water column only
  • Mid Water
Habitat
  • Water column
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Planktivore
  • Data
Diet
  • Pelagic crustacea
  • Bony fishes
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Zooplankton
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends South of GC
Residency
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
CITES
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 360
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 100