Pelagic Fish and Swordfish

Topics: Atlantic Ocean, Pelagic fish, Swordfish Pages: 3 (1098 words) Published: December 12, 2005
Tina Valler
Period 5/6

The swordfish was first described in 1758 by Linnaeus. It was given the name Xiphias gladius which is still used in present day. The Family of this fish is Xiphiidae, Order is Perciformes, and the Class is Actinopterygii. When it is translated into English, the Latin term gladius means "sword", referring to the long sword-like bill the fish possesses. Some of the English common names include broadbill, broadbill swordfish, and many others. The swordfish is named for its sharp, broad, elongated upper jaw, which it uses to flail and pierce its prey of smaller fish, rising beneath a school to kill and then devour them.

This fish is unlike any other species in the ocean and doesn't resemble any other billfish. The color varies from black to grayish blue, brown, metallic purple, or bronze. The sides are dusky, and it is long and flat. This fish lacks scales, teeth, and pelvic fins. It has single keel on each side of the body in front of the tail. The first dorsal fin is high and the fish possesses very large eyes.

The swordfish is found specific yet diverse areas including tropical, temperate, and in some cases cold waters, with a latitudinal range of approximately 60°N to 45°S. This fish migrates frequently, often moving to warmer waters in the winter and cooler waters in the summer. It is present in frontal zones, areas where ocean currents collide and the productivity is high. This fish can be found worldwide, it can vary from oceans like the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. Studies have shown a few swordfish make substantial seasonal migration. In the Pacific, swordfish appear to move northward from Baja California in the spring to California in the summer and fall, then move off-shore to spawn. Swordfish in the eastern Pacific generally stay inshore near the bottom during the day. At dusk, they head seaward. After sunset, they feed near the surface and return to inshore areas at sunrise.

Swordfish are a...
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