Istiophorus platypterus (Shaw, 1792)
Indo-Pacific sailfish
photo by University of Western Australia (UWA)

Family:  Istiophoridae (Billfishes)
Max. size:  348 cm FL (male/unsexed); max.weight: 100 kg; max. reported age: 13 years
Environment:  pelagic-oceanic; depth range 0 - 200 m, oceanodromous
Distribution:  Indo-Pacific: tropical and temperate waters approximately 45°- 50°N and 40°-35°S in the western Pacific, 35°N and 35°S in the eastern Pacific; 45°S in western Indian Ocean and 35°S in eastern Indian Ocean. Entered Mediterranean Sea from Red sea via Suez Canal. 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 & Nodder 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 the differences between them.
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 0-0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 47-53; Anal spines: 2-2; Anal soft rays: 12-15. This species is distinguished by the following characters: slender elongate and fairly compressed with a high, sail-like first dorsal fin; upper jaw prolonged into a very long beak, slender and round in cross-section; jaws and palatines with villiform teeth; no gill rakers; two dorsal fins, the first very large (42-49 rays) the second small (6-7 rays); pectoral fins 18-20 rays; pelvic fins I, 2 soft rays fused together, very long and narrow, depressible into a groove; caudal peduncle with double keels on each side; body covered with small, embedded scales with 1 or 2 blunt points. Colour of back dark with about 20 bluish vertical bars; belly pale silver; membrane of first dorsal fin blue- black with numerous dark spots; bases of first and second anal fins often tinged with silvery white; remaining fins blackish brown or dark blue (Ref. 43, 26938).
Biology:  Oceanic and epipelagic species usually found above the thermocline. Most densely distributed in waters close to coasts and islands (Ref. 9688). Most likely schools by size. Undergoes spawning migrations in the Pacific. Feeds mainly on fishes, crustaceans and cephalopods. Caught mainly with longlines, set nets, and sometimes by trolling and harpooning from boats (Ref. 43). Utilized fresh, smoked and frozen; also used for sashimi and sushi; eaten broiled and baked (Ref. 9987).
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 16 September 2010 Ref. (119314)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:   
 

Entered by: Luna, Susan M. - 17.10.90
Modified by: Capuli, Estelita Emily - 15.02.19
Checked by: Garilao, Cristina V. - 03.07.95

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