Field and laboratory observations on larval Atlantic sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus) and swordfish (Xiphias gladius)

James T. Post, Joseph E. Serafy, Jerald S. Ault, Thomas R. Capo, Donald P. De Sylva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


We conducted a 2-year study off Miami, Florida, to verify the presence and seasonality of larval billfish, particularly sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus) and swordfish (Xiphias gladius), and, to examine the feasibility of obtaining laboratory observations on feeding, behavior, and growth. The Gulf Stream's western edge was sampled from April to October 1994, and from March to October 1995, with a 1-mm-mesh plankton net. A total of 315 samples yielded 288 larval sailfish and 2 larval swordfish. Sailfish larvae were present from May to October with a May to July peak, while the two swordfish were captured in May and July. Highest sailfish catches were made from 07:00 to 08:00. No swordfish survived capture at sea. Of the 288 sailfish larvae captured, 87 were alive immediately after capture and these were transported to the University of Miami's experimental hatchery. Of the sailfish captured alive, 23 survived 24 h, 7 survived 48 h, and 1 survived 72 h. Dissection confirmed that one larval sailfish ingested Artemia introduced as food. This is the first reported observation of larval sailfish feeding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1026-1034
Number of pages9
JournalBulletin of Marine Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science


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