What is the Fastest Fish?
The fastest fish on record is the sailfish (Istiophorus
platypterus) which has been clocked at speeds between
60 and 68.1 miles per hour for 100 yards. This giant fish
belongs to the Family Istiophoridae, which also includes
marlins and spearfishes. They are collectively known as
billfish because their upper jaws are elongated
and rounded. Interestingly, the swordfish (Xiphias gladius),
although similar in appearance, is a member of an entirely
different family -- the Family Xiphiidae. Among the
subtle differences between the two families is the fact
that the swordfishs upper jaw is flattened and smooth.
Like most billfish, the Istiophorus platypterus
is dark blue the on upper half of its body and silvery white
on its underside. Its most distinguishing characteristic
is its large, bright blue dorsal fin. The fin is elongated
and quite high, running most of the length of the sailfishs
back. That is in contrast to the marlin, whose dorsal fin
reaches it highest point closer to the fishs head,
above its gill region. The sailfishs dorsal fin is
The sailfish feeds primarily on fishes and squids, preferring
tunas, mackerels, jacks and other fish that swim near the
oceans surface. Divers have reported seeing several
sailfish work together to corral their prey, using their
high fins to create a wall that keeps the smaller fish from
escaping. One by one, each sailfish darts in to dine, returning
to the circle where it waits for its next chance to feed.
Sailfish found in the Atlantic Ocean grow to approximately
eight feet in length and can weigh as much as 110 pounds.
They can be found worldwide in tropical and temperate waters,
from the Gulf of Maine to Brazil, including the Caribbean
and Gulf of Mexico. Adult sailfishes prefer to stay in waters
where the depth is between 120 to 300 feet and the temperature
ranges from 77 to 82 degrees.