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Swordfish-Largest Predator of Ocean

August 22, 2022

Swordfish-Largest Predator of Ocean

Xiphias gladius, the swordfish, is the largest predator in the ocean. The fish gets its name due to the long sword-like bill formed from the upper jaw bones. The swordfish is an important sole member and the game fish of the family Xiphiidae.

Pc: Pixabay

Physical Characteristics of the Swordfish:

Body Shape and Body Color:

The fish has an elongated cylindrical body with a blue-to-black body color, and the color fades on the lower side.

Body Size and Body Weight:

Females tend to be larger than males, the average body size of swordfish is 10ft with the average weight 655 kg.

Scales and Fins:

Adult swordfish are scaleless, while the dorsal fin is large, but it lacks the pelvic fin, which is also another distinctive feature of swordfish. The large dorsal fin helps the fish cruise at high speed while in danger. The fish has a crescent-shaped tail

Pc: Pixabay


Adult swordfish are toothless. However, the small ones have file-like teeth, and they mostly use their bills to capture the prey.


The fish has large eyes and very acute eyesight and can sense even the slightest motion. There is a gland close to the eyes which helps the fish to maintain their body temperature and helps them deep swim in cool water. 

Being ectothermic, the eye muscles help them to conserve heat through a heat exchange process. These muscles keep the swordfish's temperature at about 15 °C, higher than the surrounding water.

Habitat and Range of Swordfish:

The fish inhabits the temperate tropical waters and is present deeper in the water, approximately 1800 ft. They mostly love to be in water with a temperature of 18 to 22 °C, but they are sometimes also present in cold oceans. 

Swordfish are migratory fish, as they spend summers in cold water and migrate to war water for spawning in autumn. They are spread in the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. They are also present in the north Grand Banks of Newfoundland and Gulf Stream of the North Atlantic. Furthermore, they are also distributed to the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Marmara.

Diet of Swordfish:

The swordfish is present at the top of the food chain and, being a predator fish, it stuns its prey using its long bill, then slashes it into pieces and sometimes swallows it as a whole. The fish mostly feed during the daytime. Their common diet consists of

  • Mackerel
  • Butter Fish
  • Sand lance
  • Barracudas
  • Gaddis
  • Bluefish
  • Scombrids
  • Silver hake
  • Rock Fish
  • Herring
  • Lanternfishes
  • Crustaceans
  • Demersal Fish
  • Squid
  • Shrimp
  • Juvenile Swordfish

Predators and Parasites of Swordfish:

Being large and swift, there are lesser predators of swordfish, however they are sometimes preyed upon by sharks and whales.

Tapeworm, roundworms are the most common parasites which cause different diseases in swordfish.

Life Cycle of Swordfish:

Spawning occurs all year; however, in cooler regions, it occurs in the spring. The swordfish lay eggs in June to September, and these eggs hatch into larvae in November to March. The fertilization is external and larvae are only 4 mm small while have short snout, and scales. The average life span is 9 years.


Pc: Pexels

Swordfish Fishing:

The best time for swordfish is in the sunlight, when the fish comes up to the surface for sun basking. Keep in mind you are going to catch a powerful swift fish, so you need to update your fishing gear accordingly.

Fishing Nice Max Drag Power Fishing Reel is the best friend of a fisherman while targeting such big fish. A pro-tip for our fishing family is to place the swordfish baits at depths of 900–1200 ft.

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