Family Xiphiidae, SWORDFISHES
Xiphias gladius

Description: color of back variable, black, greyish blue, brown, metallic purple, or bronze; sides dusky; underbelly dirty white; long, flat, sword-like upper jaw; lacks scales, teeth, and pelvic fins; single keel on each side of body in front of tail; first dorsal fin high, rigid and short; large eyes.

Similar Fish: no close resemblance to other billfishes.

Where found: OFFSHORE species worldwide in temperate and tropic waters; known to frequent depths of 400 to 500 fathoms; also has been seen basking at the surface.

Size: once averaged 200 pounds but overharvest has reduced size of commercially caught swordfish to average of 48 inches.

*Florida Record: 612 lbs., 12 ozs.

Remarks: large swordfish are all females, males seldom exceeding 200 pounds; except when spawning, females believed to prefer water cooler than that favored by males; feeds on squid, octopus, and pelagic fishes of all kinds.

* The Florida records quoted are from the Department of Environmental Protection's printed publication, Fishing Lines and are not necessarily the most current ones. The records are provided as only as a benchmark.

[Fish Identification] [Fishing in Indian River County]

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