Sailfish are a type of billfish found dwelling in the warmer parts of the ocean around the world. They are characterized by their blue to gray color, their large dorsal fin called a sail and perhaps most notably, their elongated bill that makes them look similar to swordfish. In some fishing circles, they are referred to simply as billfish.
There are two types of sailfish called the Atlantic and the Indo-Pacific. Despite this, there is very little information when it comes to their DNA differences, so they tend to be grouped into a single species. Sailfish are known for their rapid growth. In a year, a sailfish can grow close to five feet in length. They’re typically found feeding close to the surface of the ocean or at middle depths, munching on squid or smaller forage fish. They are also recognized for their unbelievable jumps.
Although they generally don’t move that fast, sailfish can reach speeds of nearly fifty miles per hour, among the highest of any organism! Their large sails are usually folded to one side, but may appear raised should the fish feel excited or threatened, causing it to appear significantly larger than its actual size.
In addition to their speed and jumping ability, sailfish are also capable of rapidly changing its body color from its natural blue to yellow-like stripes. This incredible feat is done by the nervous system and is used to confuse its prey. Interestingly, it also serves as a communication method of sorts to inform fellow sailfish about its intentions.