Xiphias gladius   Linnaeus,  1758 (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Actinopterygii

Image copyrights: Archambault, C.

Size: Max length 455 cm FL (male/unsexed); common length 300 cm TL (male/unsexed)

Max. weight reported: 650.0 kg

Color: Dusky gray or bronze purple on back becoming lighter below. Dorsal lobe and pectoral dark.

Body elongate, compressed, the upper jaw produced into a powerful depressed sword. Head 1.9-2.2 in standard length, 2.3-2.6 in total length. Depth of body 6-7 in standard length, 7.2-8.2 in total length. Height of first dorsal fin 2.7-3.4 in head. Posterior dorsal spines lost with age leaving only the anterior falcate lobe with 16 to 19 spines. Second dorsal fin and anal fin short. Pectoral fin equal to or slightly shorter than first dorsal lobe. Height of first anal lobe about half that of first dorsal. Ventral fins absent. Caudal peduncle with a single large keel on either side.
Number of spines in the first dorsal fin: 40; number of spines and rays in the second dorsal fin: 4; number of spines and rays in the first anal fin: 18; number of spines and rays in the second anal fin: 4; number of rays in the pectoral fin: ii, 14.

Dioecious, nonguarders, open water/substratum egg scatterers. Fertilization in broadbill swordfish is external and pairing of solitary males and females is thought to occur when spawning. Broadbill swordfish are reported to spawn in the upper layers of the water column, from the surface to a depth of 75 m. Estimates of egg numbers vary considerably, from 1 million to 16 million in 168,000 g female and 29 million in a 272,000 g female.

Remarks: Values in above description denote proportions.

Synonym (s)
Xiphasia gladius (Linnaeus, 1758)
Phaethonichthys tuberculatus Nichols, 1923
(Junior synonym)
Tetrapterus imperator (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)
(Junior synonym)
Xiphias estara Phillipps, 1932
(Junior synonym)
Xiphias gladius estara Phillipps, 1932
(Junior synonym)
Xiphias imperator Bloch & Schneider, 1801
(Junior synonym)
Xiphias rondeletti Leach, 1818
(Junior synonym)
Xiphias thermaicus Serbetis, 1951
(Junior synonym)

Common Name (s)
• Broad Bill Sword Fish (English)
• Sword Fish (English)
• Kunga (Gujarati)
• Tadmachhi (Gujarati)
• Mas Hibaru (Mahl)
• Kuthirameen (Malayalam)
• Tadmasa (Marathi)
• Kattichepa (Telugu)
• Thalapaththu
• Myil meen
• Swordfish
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
(Fisheries, gamefish. Good food fish, marketed fresh or frozen, and can be made into sashimi, teriyaki or fillets.)

Habitat:  Pelagic
Trophic Level:  Tertiary Consumer
Prey:  Fishes (Atlantic mackerel, barracudinas, silver hake, redfish, herring and lanternfishes), crustaceans and squids
Predator:  Coryphaena hippurus, Istiophorus platypterus, Makaira indica, Makaira nigricans, Tetrapturus angustirostris, Tetrapturus audax, Thunnus albacares, Thunnus obesus, Petromyzon marinus, Isurus oxyrinchus, Isurus paucus, Prionace glauca, Physeter macrocephalus, Orcinus orca, Physeter catodon
IUCN Status:  Data Deficient


• Tamil Nadu, Chennai INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Agatti INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Kilttan INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Minicoy INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Hussain, SM Brief report on biodiversity in the coastal areas of Pakistan p 113
  • Froese, R and Pauly, D (2000) Fishbase 2000: Concepts, design and data sources ICLARM 344 pp Available at - http://www.fishbase.org
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at - http://www.marinespecies.org
  • Marine Biological Station, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (2003) Checklist of marine fauna of Tamil Nadu Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Available at - http://tnenvis.nic.in
  • Jones, S and Kumaran, M (1980) Fishes of the Laccadive Archipelago The Nature Conservation and Aquatic Sciences Service, Trivandrum, Kerala 760 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at - http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  • Fischer, W and Bianchi, G (Eds.) (1984) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Western Indian Ocean (Fishing Area 51) FAO, Rome 5 Available at - http://www.fao.org/docrep/009/ad468e/ad468e00.HTM
  • Dr. Kumaraguru, AK (2000) Studies on socioeconomics of Coral Reef resource users in the Gulf of Mannar coast, South India Centre for Marine and Coastal studies School of Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, India Available at - http://planningcommission.nic.in/reports/sereport/ser/stdy_coral.pdf
  • Jones, S. (1969) Catalogue of fishes from the Laccadive Archipelago in the reference collections of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute. Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI, Cochin 8 1-35 Available at - http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/569/1/Bulletin_8.pdf
  • Jones, S; Silas, EG and Dawson, E (1960) New records of scombroid fishes from the Andaman-Nicobar waters Journal of the marine biological association of India The marine biological association of India 2(1) 130-133 Available at - http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/1619/1/Jones_136-138.pdf
  • Talwar, PK (1990) Fishes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands: A synoptic survey Journal of the Andaman Science Association Andaman Science Association, Port Blair 6(2) 71-102 Available at - NIO,Goa
  • Pillai, PKM and Augustine, SK (2000) A code list of common marine living resources of the Indian seas CMFRI Special Publication No.12 CMFRI 1-115 Available at - eprints.cmfri.org.in/3975/1/Special_Publication_No_12_Revised.pdf

Page last updated on:2011-12-08

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