SailFish - Istiophorus Platypterus

DESCRIPTION
Body robust, slightly compressed. Head with upper jaw and snout prolonged in a stout bill, round in cross-section. Nape elevated. Branchiostegal membranes joined but free from isthmus. No gillrakers. Small, file-like teeth in jaws and palatines. First dorsal fin height less than body depth, pointed anteriorly and decreasing gradually, ending close to the second dorsal fin. Two anal fins, both pointed anteriorly; origin of second slightly behind that of second dorsal fin origin. Pectoral fin rigid (cannot be folded flat against body side). Pelvic fin very narrow, depressible into ventral grooves. Two keels on each side of caudal peduncle and located at the base of the caudal fin lobes.

color : head and body dark blue dorsally and silvery-white ventrally. First dorsal fin dark blue or blackish; other fin dark brown.

size : common 150-310 cm (max. 460 cm - ca. 700 kg).

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS
  • The upper jaw is modified into a long bill which is circular in cross section. This upper jaw is approximately twice the length of the lower jaw.

  • Two dorsal and anal fins are present. The first dorsal fin is large, much taller than the width of the body. This large fin runs most of the length of the body, with the longest ray being the 20th.

  • The first anal fin is set far back on the body. Second dorsal and anal fins approximately mirror one another in size and shape. Both are short and concave.

  • The pectoral and pelvic fins are long with the pelvic fins almost twice as long and nearly reaching the origin of the first anal fin. The pelvic fins have one spine and multiple soft rays fused together.

  • A pair of grooves run along the ventral side of the body, into which the pelvic fins can be depressed.

  • The caudal peduncle has double keels and caudal notchs on the upper and lower surfaces. The lateral line is readily visible.

    BIOLOGY / ECOLOGY
    Feeding on a variety of fish, including small tuna, squids and crustaceans.

    habitat : epipelagic oceanic.

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