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The fastest fish

The Indo-Pacific sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus) is considered the fastest fish species according to most sources. According to Johnson and Gill (see below), the species has been clocked at over 110 km/h (68 mph) over short periods.


What does the Indo-Pacific sailfish look like?

The Indo-Pacific sailfish reaches a total length of over 3.4 m and a weight of 100 kg . It is dark blue on top, brownish on the sides and silvery on the underside. There are about twenty bars on the sides of the body which are made up of bright blue spots.

What does it feed on?

The Indo-Pacific sailfish is an oceanic species that feeds on schooling fish such as sardines , anchovies , and mackerel . Nakamura (1985) states that the feeding behavior of I. platypterus was observed by fishermen as follows: "when one or more sailfish found a school of prey fish, they began to pursue it at about half their speed with their fins half folded into the grooves.

They then move towards the prey at full speed with their fins fully folded and, once they have caught up, they suddenly make sharp turns . With their fins fully extended to face part of the school and then strike the prey with the beak. Then they would eat the killed and stunned fish, usually head first.”

Another group of fast-swimming fish are mako sharks . These fish are sometimes seen making spectacular leaps up to 6 m out of the water . It was calculated that for the fish to reach this height, it would have to swim at 35.2 km/h.


Where can you find this fish?

The Indo-Pacific sailfish is a migratory fish that can be found in several locations around the world, including:

  1. Indian Ocean : This fish can be found in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, near Madagascar, Seychelles and Mauritius.

  2. South Pacific : It can also be found in the waters of the South Pacific, near the Fiji Islands, Samoa Islands and Tonga.

  3. Red Sea : The Indo-Pacific sailfish can be found in the waters of the Red Sea, near the coast of Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula.

  4. Atlantic Ocean : This fish is known to migrate to the Atlantic Ocean, where it can be found near the coasts of Brazil, West Africa, and the Caribbean.

How many are there in the world?

It is not possible to give a precise number of Indo-Pacific sailfish worldwide, as their populations can vary greatly from year to year depending on many factors such as fishing , migration habits and climate change .

However, according to the scientific journal " Marine Ecology Progress Series " published in 2019, Indo-Pacific sailfish populations are declining due to overfishing and habitat loss .

To know more

  • Johnson, GD & AC Gill in Paxton, JR & WN Eschmeyer (Eds). 1994. Encyclopedia of fish. Sydney: New South Wales University Press; San Diego: Academic Press [1995]. 240.
  • Nakamura, I. 1985. FAO Species Catalogue. Flight. 5. Billfishes of the world. Annotated and illustrated catalog of marlins, sailfish, harpoons and swordfish known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. No. 125 (5): i-iv, 1-65.
  • Springer, VG & JP Gold. 1989. The Sharks in Question: The Smithsonian Answer Book. Smithsonian Institution. 187.
  • Marine Ecology Progress Series, Volume 611, Pages 203-220 (2019)

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