The name "Xiphias gladius" comes from the latin word "gladius" meaning sword. They are also known as broadbill in some of the countries. They got such a name because of its peculiar sharp beak, which looks like a sword. This is one of the most interesting fish species to know about. It has different characteristics and behavior. It seems to be very dangerous as it has a long bill, which looks like a sword.
The Xiphias gladius or swordfish is the sole member of the Xiphiidae family, but it resembles to the billfish family of Istiophoridae. They loose their sharp teeth when they grow as an adult and hence they do not have teeth in their jaws. It uses its sword like bill in order to protect itself from its natural predators. They do not use their bill to spear but they use it to slash their prey. It can swim at a very fast speed rate of about 80 km/h. They are mainly cold-blooded fish and weigh 135 kilograms in weight. The females attain maturity at the age of (4-5) years while the males attain maturity at the age of (3-4) years. They migrate to cold water in summer and warm water in winter. They have a special organ near their eyes to provide heat to their brain and body. Their life span is about 9 years.
Reproduction of Xiphias Swordfish :
The xiphias swordfish are found spawning in the Atlantic ocean in the water less than 250 feet deep. The spawning occurs mainly in July and August. The males can be seen chasing the females. The females can carry (1-29) million eggs in their gonads. The eggs can be (1.6-1.8) mm in diameter. Sometimes they eat their own young ones.
Feeding Behavior of Xiphias gladius :
Xiphias gladius feed on squids, cephalopods and other pelagic fishes. They use their bill or so-called sword to slash their prey. Their predators can be sharks, dolphin fish, sailfish, orca, marlin and yellowfin tuna.
Facts about Xiphias gladius :
- It is popular fish for cooking.
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warn pregnant women to not eat more than one seven-ounce in a month because of its potential toxicity.
- It has a special characteristic to heat its brain and body.
- The swordfish caught in Chile was of 1182 pounds, which is a record.
- Swordfish do not swim in schools and are not social; they keep a distance of around 10 meter from each other while swimming.
Conservation of Xiphias gladius :
In the olden times, these swordfish were caught using harpoons but today they are caught using multiple baited hooks. It is being caught by the commercial fisheries worldwide and is very popular among them. These fishes are mainly caught from the Indian Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
It is a good sign that these swordfish is not in the IUCN red list of the endangered species as most of the other