SAILFISH – Istiophorus platypterus

March 9th, 2006 by Gillwetter Press

Family Istiophoridae, BILLFISHES

Description: color dark blue on top, brown-blue laterally, silvery white underbelly; upper jaw elongated in form of spear; first dorsal greatly enlarged in the form of a sail, with many black spots, its front squared off, highest at its mid point; pelvic fins very narrow, reaching almost to the anus; body covered with imbedded scales, blunt at end; lateral line curved over pectoral, then straight to base of tail.

Similar fish: white marlin, T. albidus, young blue marlin, M. nigricans (spectacular sail-like dorsal of sailfish is most notable difference).

Where found: OFFSHORE species, in south Florida associated with waters near the Gulfstream; off the Panhandle near the 100 fathom line.

Size: common to 7 feet.

Remarks: rapid growing species, reaching 4 to 5 feet in a single year; swims at speeds up to 50 knots; feeds on the surface or at mid depths on smaller pelagic fishes and squid.

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