The swordfish gets its name from its long, flattened bill that extends from the upper jaw. They have a stout, rounded body and rather large eyes. Their first dorsal fin is tall and crescent-shaped, while the second is much smaller. Their anal fins (on their belly) are similar in shape to the dorsal fins but are smaller. They have a broad, crescent shaped tail. Their color is darkest on top, generally black or brown, and fades to a lighter color below.

Maximum Size

Both the North Atlantic and Pacific swordfish species have been reported to reach 14 feet in length and up to 1,200 pounds. The Pacific variety grow slightly larger on average.

Geographic Range

Swordfish are found around the world in tropical, temperate, and sometimes cold waters of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans.


Swordfish live in surface to mid-water but feed throughout the water column. They move from spawning grounds in warm waters to feeding grounds in colder waters.

Life span

Up to 9 years.


Swordfish are one of the ocean's fastest swimmers, reaching speeds of 50 mph. They use their bill not to pierce fish, but to slash and stun prey in a back-and-forth motion.


Fish and squid.


Sharks are a problem for younger swordfish, but adults, with their great speed, have little to worry about.

Information credit: NOAA

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