Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Xiphiidae
Genus: Xiphias
Species: Xiphias gladius (Linnaeus, 1758) - swordfish

Contrary to popular belief, swordfish do not stab prey with the elongated, sharp snout; however, a rapid slashing motion of the snout is used to stun and kill prey (Collette, 1995).

Tips for Identifying: First the BAM then the FAD.

Bodies are elongate, stout and fusiform.
Weighs up to 650 kg (1,433 lb) (Nakaumura, 1986)
Length up to 4.55 m (14.9 ft) (IGFA, 2001) Common length is 3 m (9.8 ft) (Collette, 1995).
Countershading; darker blue on top with whitish ventral side.
Snout is extremely elongate and sharp. Teeth (and scales) are absent in adults. Subterminal mouth.
Slightly lunate caudal fin. First spines on first dorsal fin are tall. A large median caudal keel (a protrusion near the where the tail begins). The dorsal and pectoral fins do not retract. No pelvic fins.
Area (Habitat):
Primarily oceanic but will be found occasionally in coastal waters; usually always above the thermocline (Collette, 1995).
Relatively tranquil, solitary animals that will occasionally be found in small aggregates. Known for beautiful displays at the surface as the fish airs out the first dorsal fin.

Although the 'swords' of their snouts appear ominous, there are no verifiable reports of attacks on humans. However, these large and agile fish are erratic and strong when hooked. A man spearfishing in Hawaii was killed after spearing a swordfish and the animal thrashed around, piercing his chest (Preuss, 2015).

Main reference for this page: (Collette, 1995) & (Froese & Pauly, 2016)

Table of Contents - The Fishes