Extreme Athletes – the Sailfish

Sailfish are found across the warm and temperate parts of the world’s oceans!

The two main subspecies of Sailfish – the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific, are found across the warm and temperate parts of the world’s oceans.

They are blue to grey in colour with white underbellies, and get their name from their dorsal fin that stretches nearly the length of their body and is much higher than their bodies are thick.

They are members of the ‘billfish’ family, and as such, have an upper jaw that juts out well beyond their lower jaw and forms a distinctive spear.

They are found near the ocean surface usually far from land feeding on schools of smaller fish like sardines and anchovies, which they often shepherd with their sails, making them easy prey. They also feast on squid and octopus!

Their meat is fairly tough and not widely eaten, but they are prized as game fish. When hooked, these powerful animals will fight vigorously, leaping and diving repeatedly, and sometimes taking hours to land.

Sailfish are fairly abundant throughout their range, and their population is considered stable. They are under no special status or protections.

Top Facts

  • They are carnivorous fish, meaning they eat other animals!
  • Their average lifespan in the wild is 4 years
  • They can range from 5.7 to 11 foot in length. That’s about the size of a person, to two people!
  • Sailfish are the fastest fish in the ocean and have been clocked leaping out of the water at more than 68 mi (110 km) per hour!

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Extreme Athletes!

It's mankind versus mammal-kind in this podcast series, where we pit some of our greatest athletes against some of nature's greatest animals!