Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes
(Perch-likes) > Istiophoridae
Etymology: Tetrapturus: Greek, tetra = four + Greek, pteron, fin, wing (Ref. 45335).
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; pelagic-oceanic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 200 m (Ref. 43), usually 100 - ? m (Ref. 4770). Subtropical; 44°N - 33°S, 98°W - 17°E (Ref. 43)
Atlantic Ocean: widely distributed in offshore waters, much more densely so in the western than in the eastern Atlantic. Highly migratory species, Annex I of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (Ref. 26139).
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 254 cm FL male/unsexed; (Ref. 40637); common length : 165 cm OT male/unsexed; (Ref. 43); max. published weight: 58.0 kg (Ref. 40637)
soft rays: 18 - 21;
Vertebrae: 24. Blue-black above, silvery white splattered with brown on the sides, silvery white below; dorsal fins dark blue; pectorals blackish brown, occasionally with tinges of greyish white; pelvic fins blue-black with a black fin membrane; 1st anal fin dark blue with silvery white at base; 2nd anal fin blackish brown.
Oceanic species, chiefly found in offshore waters, usually above the thermocline. Feed mainly on pelagic fishes and squids (Ref. 4770). Females probably spawn once a year (Ref. 4770). Marketed frozen.
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Maturation seems to occur at the same time rather than in the same season both in the northern and southern hemisphere, which could be suggestive of homogeneity of the population of this species. Females probably spawn once a year (Ref. 4770).
Nakamura, I., 1985. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 5. Billfishes of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of marlins, sailfishes, spearfishes and swordfishes known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(5):65p. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 43)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 119314)
CITES (Ref. 115941)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969
): 14.1 - 23.7, mean 18.2 (based on 140 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5630 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00380 (0.00192 - 0.00752), b=3.09 (2.91 - 3.27), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this species & (Sub)family-body (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 4.4 ±0.4 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (Assuming tm=2-4).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Moderate to high vulnerability (49 of 100) .