Sailfish

sailfish skeleton

Latin Name: Istiophorus albicans

The Atlantic sailfish is a well-known billfish found in the western and eastern Atlantic ocean. These fish are one member out of 11 specimens in the Istiophoridae family. Sailfish are typically found in the warmer upper regions of the water column however they can make dives to the cold depths of 200m and have special physiological adaptations in order to keep the eyes and brain at an elevated temperature. These fish are highly mobile and make migrations from the western Atlantic to the Mediterranean and are known as one of the fastest fish in the sea. Sailfish are widely sought after by offshore fishermen because of their dramatic breaching displays as hooked fish vigorously attempt to shake out the fishing hook. Their enlarged dorsal fins can be raised nearly two feet above its back to create a “sail” that acts to confuse and frighten their fish and squid prey. Sailfish are fast growers and can get up to 127 pounds and live up to 12 years.