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Istiophorus platypterus  (Shaw, 1792)

Indo-Pacific sailfish
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Istiophorus platypterus   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Istiophorus platypterus (Indo-Pacific sailfish)
Istiophorus platypterus
Picture by Windsor Nature Discovery

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).

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Marine; pelagic-oceanic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 200 m (Ref. 54238), usually 30 - ? m (Ref. 9688).   Subtropical; 50°N - 43°S, 16°E - 71°W (Ref. 43)

Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - 150 cm
Max length : 348 cm FL male/unsexed; (Ref. 40637); common length : 270 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 9308); max. published weight: 100.2 kg (Ref. 40637); max. reported age: 13 years (Ref. 53742)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 47-53; Anal spines: 2; Anal soft rays: 12 - 15. Body elongate and compressed; upper jaw prolonged into a very long beak; two dorsal fins, the first very large and tail; pelvic fins narrow but very long, almost reaching anus, with 1 spine and 2 rays; body covered with small, embedded scales with 1 or 2 blunt points; back dark with about 20 bluish vertical bars; belly pale silver; membrane of first dorsal fin blue black with numerous dark spots (Ref. 55763). A slender billfish with a high, sail-like first dorsal fin (Ref. 26938).

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

Indo-Pacific: tropical and temperate waters approximately 45°- 50°N and 40°-35°S in the western Pacific, 35°N and 35°S in the eastern Pacific; 45°S in western Indian Ocean and 35°S in eastern Indian Ocean. Entered Mediterranean Sea from Red sea via Suez Canal. 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 & Nodder 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 the differences between them.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Oceanic and epipelagic species usually found above the thermocline. Most densely distributed in waters close to coasts and islands (Ref. 9688). Most likely schools by size. Undergoes spawning migrations in the Pacific (Ref. 43). Feeds mainly on fishes, crustaceans and cephalopods. Utilized fresh, smoked and frozen; also used for sashimi and sushi; eaten broiled and baked (Ref. 9987).

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.

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 90363)

Threat to humans

  Harmless




Human uses

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

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Estimates of some properties based on empirical models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.7505   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00617 (0.00281 - 0.01353), b=3.15 (2.95 - 3.35), based on LWR estimates for species & Subfamily-BS (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  4.5   ±0.8 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (rm=0.11; K=0.4-0.8).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  High to very high vulnerability (74 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Very high.