swordfish

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swordfish,

large food and game fish, Xiphias gladius, of the warmer Atlantic and Pacific waters. It is named for its sharp, broad, elongated upper jaw, which it uses to flail and injure its prey of smaller fish. Swordfish breed as far north as Nova Scotia; they are often seen basking on the water's surface, and their fins are sometimes mistaken for those of sharks. They may reach 15 ft (457 cm) and 1,000 lb (450 kg); however, specimens half this size are considered large. Swordfish were formerly harpooned commercially but now are taken using long lines with multiple baited hooks. Conservation efforts are underway to rebuild depleted stocks. Swordfish are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Perciformes, family Xiphiidae.

Swordfish

 

(Xiphias gladius), the only modern representative of the family Xiphiidae of the order Perciformes. The upper jaw is extended into a swordlike projection. There are no ventral fins. The naked body is up to 4 m long and weighs up to half a ton. The swordfish is found in all oceans, primarily in the tropics; it is also encountered in arctic latitudes in the north. In the USSR the fish is found in the Black, Baltic, and Barents seas, as well as in the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Azov. Swordfish generally are solitary animals. Mating occurs in the warm season; the roe are pelagic. Swordfish feed on nektons, including squids, tuna, and sharks. They are commercially valuable.

Swordfish

[′sȯrd‚fish]
(astronomy)

swordfish

a large scombroid fish, Xiphias gladius, with a very long upper jaw: valued as a food and game fish: family Xiphiidae