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Istiophorus albicans  (Latreille, 1804)

Atlantic sailfish
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Image of Istiophorus albicans (Atlantic sailfish)
Istiophorus albicans
Picture by Baumeier, E.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes (Perch-likes) > Istiophoridae (Billfishes)
Etymology: Istiophorus: Greek, istios = sail + Greek, pherein = to carry (Ref. 45335).

Issue
This species is synonym of Istiophorus platypterus in Eschmeyer (CofF ver. Jan. 2012: Ref. 89336) following Collette et al. (2006). The species page will be removed.

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Marine; pelagic-oceanic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 200 m (Ref. 43).   Subtropical; 21°C - 28°C (Ref. 43); 50°N - 43°S, 99°W - 37°E (Ref. 43)

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?, range 121 - 146 cm
Max length : 315 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 43); common length : 240 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5217); max. published weight: 58.1 kg (Ref. 43); max. reported age: 4 years (Ref. 72497)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 48-53; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 9 - 12; Vertebrae: 24

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Atlantic Ocean: in tropical and temperate waters approximately 40°N in the northwest Atlantic, 50°N in the northeast Atlantic, 40°S in the southwest Atlantic, and 32°S in the southeast Atlantic. Migrating to Mediterranean Sea, mostly based on juvenile specimens. Highly migratory species, Annex I of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (Ref. 26139). Some authors recognize a single worldwide species, Istiophorus platypterus (Shaw 1792) but we follow Nakamura 1990 (Ref. 10820) retaining the usage of Istiophorus platypterus for the Indo-Pacific sailfish and Istiophorus albicans for the Atlantic sailfish in recognition of differences between them.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Usually found in the upper layers of warm water above the thermocline, but also capable of descending to rather deep water. Often migrate into near-shore waters. Occasionally form schools or smaller groups of 3 to 30 individuals, but often occur in loose aggregations over a wide area. Feed mainly on small pelagic fishes but also takes bottom-dwelling organisms. Females grow larger (Ref. 4770). Utilized fresh, canned and frozen; eaten steamed (Ref. 9987).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Around Florida in USA, this species often moves inshore into shallow waters where females, swimming sluggishly with their dorsal fins extended and accompanied each by one or more males, may spawn near the surface in the warm season. However, spawning in offshore waters beyond the 100 fathom isobath was also reported from south of Cuba to Carolina, USA. Off southeast Florida, a 33.4 kg female may shed up to 4.8 million eggs in three batches during one spawning season.

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

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. 125(5):65p. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 43)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Harmless




Human uses

Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes
FAO(fisheries: production; publication : search) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

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Internet sources

BHL | Cloffa | Websites from users | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | DiscoverLife | Faunafri | Fishtrace | GenBank(genome, nucleotide) | GOBASE | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | IGFA World Record | iSpecies | National databases | PubMed | Scirus | SeaLifeBase | Tree of Life | uBio | Wikipedia(Go, Search) | World Records Freshwater Fishing | Zoological Record

Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.7505   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  4.5   ±0.4 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.29-1.2 (?); tm=3.5).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  High vulnerability (65 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   High.