Istiophorus albicans (Latreille, 1804)
Atlantic sailfish
Istiophorus albicans
photo by Baumeier, E.

Family:  Istiophoridae (Billfishes)
Max. size:  315 cm TL (male/unsexed); max.weight: 58 kg; max. reported age: 4 years
Environment:  pelagic-oceanic; depth range 0 - 200 m, oceanodromous
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.
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 0-0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 48-53; Anal spines: 0-0; Anal soft rays: 9-12; Vertebrae: 24-24
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).
IUCN Red List Status: Not Evaluated (Ref. 115185)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:   
 

Entered by: Luna, Susan M. - 17.10.90
Modified by: Bailly, Nicolas - 31.01.18
Checked by: Bailly, Nicolas - 06.03.12

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