Animals

15 Fin-tastic Facts About The Swordfish For Kids

Swordfish facts about the fish species found in the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea
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Have you ever heard about a swordfish (xiphias gladius)? Strange name, isn’t it? Swordfish are large fishes native to the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans that belong to the Xiphiidae family. Xiphias gladius is a migratory species especially known for its long and powerful pointed bill which looks like a sword. They use this bill to slash their prey. They are among the popular seafood consumed by humans mostly in the form of steak as well as in grilled method. Swordfishes are also called broadbills in some places.  It is one of the most popular species amongst anglers who are experienced in fishing.

These fishes have some special characteristics which will make you more curious about them such as in order to heat their eyes, there are special organs next to the eyes which heat the eyes as well as the brain.

Are you ready to explore? Here are some fun and awesome facts on swordfish. Afterward, do check out our other articles on plaice facts and blue runner facts.

Swordfish

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Small Fishes, Squid, Crustaceans, Cuttlefish

What do they eat?

Carnivores

Average litter size?

1.5-2.5 million eggs

How much do they weigh?

Up to 1430 lb (648.6 kg)

How long are they?

118-177 in (299.7-449.5 cm)


How tall are they?

Large Size


What do they look like?

Black, Brown

Skin Type

Wet, Slimy Scales

What are their main threats?

Overfishing, Orcas, Sharks

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Tropical, Temperate, Cold Waters

Locations

Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Caribbean Sea

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Actinopterygii

Scientific Name

Xiphias Gladius

Family

Xiphiidae

Genus

Xiphias

Swordfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a swordfish?

Swordfish is a large fish and the only member that belongs to the Xiphiidae family. These Atlantic species are migratory fishes and a strong predator with its long and powerful bill that looks like a spear. They use it as a weapon to slash their prey. There are popular for fishing and belong to the category of billfish.

What class of animal does a swordfish belong to?

Swordfish is a fish that belongs to the Actinopterygii class. Swordfish come under the Istiophoriformes order and are the only members of the Xiphiidae family. Its scientific name is xiphias gladius. Swordfish got their name because of their strong and powerful bill. They can make the prey unconscious and attack them using the bill.

How many swordfishes are there in the world?

There is no accurate and rough estimate of the total number of swordfish in the world. Their population is slightly decreasing as they are popular game fishes and fishing takes place excessively across their habitat in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. But still, it is believed that their population is easily above 1 million individuals.

Where does a swordfish live?

Swordfish live in oceans. They are found throughout the Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and the Atlantic Ocean. They are also seen in the Gulf Stream of the Western North Atlantic and also in the Great Banks of Newfoundland. They are a migratory species.

What is a swordfish's habitat?

Swordfish are a warm-water species and usually prefer tropical and temperate waters and also sometimes in the cold waters of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans. Swordfish prefer warm temperatures. They migrate to cold and temperate water throughout the summer and return back to tropical waters during the winter months and also for spawning.

Who do swordfishes live with?

Swordfish typically live alone and do not like to live in groups. They do not swim in a school of fish.

How long does a swordfish live?

Swordfish have an average lifespan of around nine years and this duration might vary according to the environment.

How do they reproduce?

Swordfish reach sexual maturity within five or six years of age and spawning usually takes place in tropical waters of the Caribbean Sea between July and August. Females release around 1.2-2.5 million eggs in each spawning. Large female swordfish are able to produce more eggs than smaller swordfish. The development of the embryo occurs after around three days of the fertilization of the eggs. From April through August, they spawn in the southeast coast of the US and from December to March in the Sargasso Sea and in the upper Caribbean.

What is their conservation status?

Swordfish is listed under the Least Concern status by the IUCN. Their population decreased due to overfishing and their natural predators, humans and sharks. They are popular game fish that attract and challenge the fishermen. But with dedicated fisheries in place, they do not face any extinction threat now.

Swordfish Fun facts

What does swordfish look like?

Swordfish are generally black or brown in color and the color is lighter at the undersides.

Swordfish are large, predatory, and migratory species of fish and the only member of the Xiphiidae family. They have a long and pointed bill that looks like a sword.  They have two dorsal fins where the first one is crescent-shaped and tall whereas the second dorsal fin is small. Their anal fin situated on the belly has a similarity of dorsal fin but is smaller compared to it. They have long and cylindrical bodies with large eyes and their tail is crescent-shaped.

How cute are they?

Swordfish look dangerous in their appearance and are natural predators. Their bill is pointed and dangerous. This important fish species does not appear to be cute but is rather scary looking.

How do they communicate?

Swordfish communicate using gestures and motions. Swordfish prefer to be alone rather than in groups.

How big is a swordfish?

Swordfish has a length of 118-177 in (299.7-449.5 cm) and hence is a large-sized fish. It is 10 times larger than a tetra fish.

How fast can a swordfish swim?

Swordfish are one of the fastest fishes in the ocean and have a speed of 60-80 mph (96-128 kph).

How much does a swordfish weigh?

On an average scale, an adult swordfish can weigh up to 1,430 lb (648.6 kg) and is a large-sized fish. The International Game Fish Association's all-tackle catch record is 1,182 lb (535.15 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

They are known as males and females.

What would you call a baby swordfish?

A baby swordfish is called a fry.

What do they eat?

Swordfish are carnivores and feed on other fishes. They feed on other fishes like silver hake, redfish, lantern fish, herring and crustaceans, squids, cuttlefish. They are among the top predators and have very few natural predators. Their natural predators include humans and sharks.

Are they dangerous?

Swordfish are not dangerous until provoked. If provoked, they become very dangerous and vigorous and attack others using their strong bill. But there have been no reported cases of human deaths from swordfish attacks.

Would they make a good pet?

Swordfish are large fish and cannot be kept in an aquarium. They are very fast moving fishes and can break the tank if kept in an aquarium. Hence these food fishes are not suitable for keeping as a pet. Swordfish are consumed by humans usually in the form of grilled swordfish and swordfish steak. The ideal internal temperature for baked swordfish is 130°-135° Fahrenheit. Grilled swordfish is without doubt the most popular swordfish recipe.

Did you know...

In order to keep their brain and eyes warm in cold water, swordfish have a special organ that also helps to improve their vision in water. There is also a heat exchange system that allows them to swim in deep waters.

The fishing of this species is monitored in the US through Regional Fishery Management Organizations. Annual migrations of swordfish take place from warm-water spawning grounds in the fall and winter to temperate and cold-water feeding grounds in the summer

Swordfish meat is high in mercury content, which is a toxic trace metal that has an adverse impact on brain health. So, young children and pregnant women must avoid eating swordfish.

As the swordfish swims at high speeds in deep waters, it is extremely hard to locate and catch this fish species.

Do people eat swordfish?

Yes, humans consume swordfish, a popular food fish, for its high protein content and grilled swordfish taste which is awesome. There are many websites where you can get a grilled swordfish recipe. Swordfish are popular seafood and there are varieties of grilled swordfish recipes. Grilled swordfish is amongst the top list in the menus of the restaurants. The meat of swordfish is rich in protein, very gentle, and suitable for cooking. Swordfish contains vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids that are good for humans. One of the most popular swordfish recipes is the swordfish steak. Swordfish steak has a meaty texture and has a slightly sweet taste. Baked swordfish, grilled swordfish, and swordfish steak are some of the popular methods of cooking swordfish. Grilled swordfish is the most popular swordfish recipe.

In order to pan-fry swordfish, you just need to heat oil in a large iron skillet and then turn the flame to medium-high heat. Now, sear the steaks until they get the brown color on each side and are just cooked through.

Why is swordfish so expensive?

Swordfish are expensive in the region as well as the international market due to certain reasons. This popular food fish is very difficult to catch because of its large size. This food fish is in high demand amongst seafood restaurants. As a result, it is one of the most expensive fishes in the world and trades at around $6-$8 per pound, or around $3-$4 per kg, in the USA.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these codfish facts and spiny dogfish facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our swordfish coloring pages.

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