Animal Species:Swordfish, Xiphias gladius Linnaeus, 1758

The Swordfish has a very long flattened bill, but lacks teeth, scales and pelvic fins. The species occurs in marine waters worldwide, with the exception of the cold waters of high latitudes.

Stan Sek with a Swordfish

Stan Sek © Stan Sek

Standard Common Name

Swordfish

Alternative Name/s

Broadbill, Broadbill Swordfish

Identification

The Swordfish has a very long flattened bill and a strong keel on the caudal peduncle. It has a short-based dorsal fin that is well separated from the second dorsal fin. The species lacks teeth, scales and pelvic fins. It is blue to brown above fading to silver or light brown below. The membrane of the first dorsal fin is usually black.

Distribution

The Swordfish occurs in marine waters worldwide, with the exception of the cold waters of high latitudes. In Australia the species is known from all marine waters

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Xiphias gladius Ozcam map of Swordfish specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?

Habitat

It is mostly found in deeper water, down to a maximum depth of 650 m, but will sometimes come inshore.

Classification

Species:
gladius
Genus:
Xiphias
Family:
Xiphiidae
Order:
Perciformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Allen, G.R. & R. Swainston. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 201.
  3. Glover, C.J.M. in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
  4. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  5. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  6. 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. No. 125 (5): i-iv, 1-65.
  7. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags Fishes, Ichthyology, Swordfish, Xiphias gladius, Xiphiidae, cookiecutter shark, blue, silver, brown, black, odd-shaped, countershaded, pelagic, deepsea, marine, adult, sword-shaped nose,