Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes
(Perch-likes) > Istiophoridae
Etymology: Istiophorus: Greek, istios = sail + Greek, pherein = to carry (Ref. 45335).
This species is synonym of Istiophorus platypterus in Eschmeyer (CofF ver. Jan. 2012: Ref. 89336) following Collette et al. (2006).
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; pelagic-oceanic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 200 m (Ref. 43). Subtropical; 21°C - 28°C (Ref. 43), preferred 25°C (Ref. 107945); 50°N - 43°S, 99°W - 37°E (Ref. 43)
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.
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?, range 121 - 146 cm
Max length : 315 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 43); common length : 240 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5217); max. published weight: 58.1 kg (Ref. 43); max. reported age: 4 years (Ref. 72497)
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).
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)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 109396)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.7505 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 4.5 ±0.4 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.29-1.2 (?); tm=3.5).
Prior r = 0.6, 2 SD range = 0.34 - 1.06, log(r) = -0.51, SD log(r) = 0.28, Based on: 2 K, 1 tgen, 1 tmax, 1 Fec records
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): High vulnerability (65 of 100) .