Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Usually found in the upper layers of warm water above the thermocline, but also capable of descending to rather deep water. Often migrate into near-shore waters. Occasionally form schools or smaller groups of 3 to 30 individuals, but often occur in loose aggregations over a wide area. Feed mainly on small pelagic fishes but also takes bottom-dwelling organisms. Females grow larger (Ref. 4770). Utilized fresh, canned and frozen; eaten steamed (Ref. 9987).
  • Nakamura, I. 1985 FAO species catalogue. Vol. 5. Billfishes of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of marlins, sailfishes, spearfishes and swordfishes known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(5):65p. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 43)
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Distribution

Atlantic Ocean: in tropical and temperate waters approximately 40°N in the northwest Atlantic, 50°N in the northeast Atlantic, 40°S in the southwest Atlantic, and 32°S in the southeast Atlantic. Migrating to Mediterranean Sea, mostly based on juvenile specimens. Highly migratory species, Annex I of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (Ref. 26139). Some authors recognize a single worldwide species, Istiophorus platypterus (Shaw 1792) but we follow Nakamura 1990 (Ref. 10820) retaining the usage of Istiophorus platypterus for the Indo-Pacific sailfish and Istiophorus albicans for the Atlantic sailfish in recognition of differences between them.
  • Nakamura, I. 1985 FAO species catalogue. Vol. 5. Billfishes of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of marlins, sailfishes, spearfishes and swordfishes known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(5):65p. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 43)
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Southwestern Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic [if treated as a valid species or subspecies].
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 48 - 53; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 9 - 12; Vertebrae: 24
  • Nakamura, I. 1985 FAO species catalogue. Vol. 5. Billfishes of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of marlins, sailfishes, spearfishes and swordfishes known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(5):65p. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 43)
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Size

Maximum size: 3150 mm TL
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Max. size

315 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 43)); max. published weight: 58.1 kg (Ref. 43); max. reported age: 4 years (Ref. 72497)
  • Nakamura, I. 1985 FAO species catalogue. Vol. 5. Billfishes of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of marlins, sailfishes, spearfishes and swordfishes known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(5):65p. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 43)
  • DeSylva, D.P. 1957 Studies on the age and growth of the Atlantic sailfish, Istiophorus americanus (Cuvier), using length-frequency curves. Bull. Of Mar. Sci. of the Gulf and Caribbean 7:1-20. (Ref. 72497)
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Ecology

Habitat

Environment

pelagic-oceanic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); marine; depth range 0 - 200 m (Ref. 43)
  • Riede, K. 2004 Global register of migratory species - from global to regional scales. Final Report of the R&D-Projekt 808 05 081. Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, Bonn, Germany. 329 p. (Ref. 51243)
  • Nakamura, I. 1985 FAO species catalogue. Vol. 5. Billfishes of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of marlins, sailfishes, spearfishes and swordfishes known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(5):65p. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 43)
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Depth range based on 760 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 729 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 100 - 4600
  Temperature range (°C): 1.478 - 23.791
  Nitrate (umol/L): 1.598 - 32.106
  Salinity (PPS): 34.796 - 36.564
  Oxygen (ml/l): 2.683 - 6.129
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.110 - 2.072
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.774 - 80.155

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 100 - 4600

Temperature range (°C): 1.478 - 23.791

Nitrate (umol/L): 1.598 - 32.106

Salinity (PPS): 34.796 - 36.564

Oxygen (ml/l): 2.683 - 6.129

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.110 - 2.072

Silicate (umol/l): 0.774 - 80.155
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Migration

Oceanodromous. Migrating within oceans typically between spawning and different feeding areas, as tunas do. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.
  • Riede, K. 2004 Global register of migratory species - from global to regional scales. Final Report of the R&D-Projekt 808 05 081. Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, Bonn, Germany. 329 p. (Ref. 51243)
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Trophic Strategy

Usually found in the upper layers of warm water above the thermocline, but also capable of descending to rather deep water. Often migrate into near-shore waters. Occasionally form schools or smaller groups of 3 to 30 individuals, but often occur in loose aggregations over a wide area. Feed mainly on small pelagic fishes but also takes bottom-dwelling organisms. Females grow larger (Ref. 4770).
  • Nakamura, I. 1985 FAO species catalogue. Vol. 5. Billfishes of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of marlins, sailfishes, spearfishes and swordfishes known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(5):65p. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 43)
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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Around Florida in USA, this species often moves inshore into shallow waters where females, swimming sluggishly with their dorsal fins extended and accompanied each by one or more males, may spawn near the surface in the warm season. However, spawning in offshore waters beyond the 100 fathom isobath was also reported from south of Cuba to Carolina, USA. Off southeast Florida, a 33.4 kg female may shed up to 4.8 million eggs in three batches during one spawning season.
  • Nakamura, I. 1985 FAO species catalogue. Vol. 5. Billfishes of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of marlins, sailfishes, spearfishes and swordfishes known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(5):65p. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 43)
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Conservation

Threats

Not Evaluated
  • IUCN 2006 2006 IUCN red list of threatened species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded July 2006.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 1992 FAO yearbook 1990. Fishery statistics. Catches and landings. FAO Fish. Ser. (38). FAO Stat. Ser. 70:(105):647 p. (Ref. 4931)
  • Nakamura, I. 1985 FAO species catalogue. Vol. 5. Billfishes of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of marlins, sailfishes, spearfishes and swordfishes known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(5):65p. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 43)
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Wikipedia

Atlantic sailfish

The Atlantic sailfish, Istiophorus albicans, is a species of marine fish in the family Istiophoridae of the order Perciformes. It is found in the Atlantic Oceans and the Caribbean Sea, except for large areas of the central North Atlantic and the central South Atlantic, from the surface to depths of 200 m (656 ft). The Atlantic sailfish is related to the marlin.

Tests in the 1920s estimated that the Atlantic sailfish was capable of short sprints of up to 111 kilometres per hour; however, more conservative estimates of 37 to 55 kilometres per hour are more widely accepted.[1]

Atlantic sailfish hunt schooling fish, such as sardines, anchovies and mackerel although they also feed on crustaceans and cephalopods.

Description[edit]

Ernest Hemingway in Key West, Florida, USA, in the 1940s, with an Atlantic sailfish he had caught

The Atlantic sailfish is a metallic blue fish with a large sail-like dorsal fin and a long and pointed bill-like snout. It is dark bluish-black on the upperparts and lighter on the sides (counter-shading), with about twenty bluish horizontal bars along the flanks; the underparts are silvery white. The tail fin is strongly forked. The fins are bluish-black and the front dorsal fin is speckled with small black spots. The bases of the anal fins are pale.[2]

The length of this fish is up to 3.15 m (10.3 ft) and the maximum published weight is 58.1 kg (128.1 lb).[3]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The Atlantic sailfish is a pelagic fish of tropical and temperate waters in the Atlantic Ocean. It ranges from approximately 40°N in the northwestern Atlantic to 40°S in the southwestern Atlantic, and 50°N in the northeastern Atlantic to 32°S in the southeastern Atlantic. It is a migratory species and moves about the open ocean and into the Mediterranean Sea. Its depth range is from warm surface waters down to about 200 m (656 ft).[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Burton, M. and Burton, R. (2002) International Wildlife Encyclopedia. Marshall Cavendish, New York.
  2. ^ "Atlantic sailfish". ARKive. Retrieved 2013-12-27. 
  3. ^ a b Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2006). "Istiophorus albicans" in FishBase. January 2006 version.
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