Swordfish caught off Bowen Island Click to enlarge image
Stan Sek with the Swordfish he caught on a Christmas tree lure 1km off Bowen Island, Jervis Bay, New South Wales, 2001. Image: Stan Sek
© Stan Sek

Fast Facts

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

Introduction

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.

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.

Habitat

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

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.



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.