Atlantic sailfish are found in tropical and temperate parts of the Atlantic Ocean, though juveniles have been found in the Mediterranean Sea. Adults can weigh up to 60kg. Females grow larger than the males.
Scientific name: Istiophorus albicans
Slow motion enhances the grace and agility of hunting sailfish.
As Atlantic sailfish can swim at more than 60 miles per hour, trying to capture their grace and agility on film is easier said than done. Up for the challenge, the Life team used an ultra-high speed camera to film the fastest fish on Earth making quick work of a huge ball of sardines.
Energy super-efficient hunters capitalise on the seasonal nutrient glut.
There's a short time window when baitfish come to the surface in such abundance, attracting predators from above and below. Sailfish have been filmed before, but not these extraordinary gatherings of over 100 feeding on a single shoal. They can travel at speeds of up over 90kph and there are plenty of casualties during the hunt, so diving to film them is not for the faint-hearted!
The following habitats are found across the Atlantic sailfish distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
The Atlantic sailfish, Istiophorus albicans, is a species of marine fish in the family Istiophoridae of the order Perciformes. It is found in the Atlantic Oceans and the Caribbean Sea, except for large areas of the central North Atlantic and the central South Atlantic, from the surface to depths of 200 m. The Atlantic Sailfish is related to the marlin.
Tests in the 1920s estimated that they were capable of short sprints of up to 111 kilometres per hour; however, more conservative estimates of 37 to 55 kilometres per hour are more widely accepted.
Atlantic sailfish hunt schooling fish, such as sardines, anchovies and mackerel although they also feed on crustaceans and cephalopods.
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