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.
Standard Common Name
Broadbill, Broadbill Swordfish
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.
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.
It is mostly found in deeper water, down to a maximum depth of 650 m, but will sometimes come inshore.
- Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
- 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.
- 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 , Senior Fellow