Istiophorus platypterus   (Shaw,  1792) (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Actinopterygii

Image copyrights: Randall, J.E.

Size: Maximum about 3.2 m (total length); common to 2.7 m (total length).

Max. weight reported: 100.2 kg

Color: Back dark with about 20 bluish vertical bars; belly pale silver; membrane of first dorsal fin blue black with numerous dark spots.

Body elongate, strongly compressed, the upper jaw greatly produced. Head 2.9-3.2 in standard length, 3.5-3.8 in total length. Dorsal profile of head gradually ascending to dorsal. Rostrum about 4.5 in total length. Granulations on lower part of rostrum stronger than those on sides. Lower jaw with small teeth. Dorsal fin origin on nape; first dorsal remarkably high and sail-like, anterior rays markedly shorter than middle rays; posterior rays decreasing rapidly in length. Longest dorsal ray 2.0-2.5 times depth of body. First anal below posterior quarter of first dorsal; second anal opposite to second dorsal. Pectoral falciform, as long as half length of head. Ventral fin equal to or longer than pectoral and depressible in a groove of the abdomen. First anal lobe equal to postorbital length of head.
Number of spines in the first dorsal fin: XLII-XLVIII; number of spines and rays in the second dorsal fin: 7; number of spines and rays in the first anal fin: 10-12; number of spines and rays in the second anal fin: 7; number of rays in the pectoral fin: 17-18; number of spines and rays in the ventral fin: I, 2. Feeds mainly on fishes, crustaceans and cephalopods.

Dioecious, external fertilization, nonguarders, open water/substratum egg scatterers. Spawning occurs with males and females swimming in pairs or with two or three males chasing a single female (probably a mating behavior). The ripe ovarian eggs are about 0.85 mm in diameter and have a single oil globule; there are no structures on the vitalize membrane and the egg is transparent. Eggs shed from captured female in the Indian Ocean averaged 1.304 mm in diameter. Most likely schools by size.

Max. age reported: 13 years

Remarks: Values in above description denote proportions.

Synonym (s)
Xiphias platypterus Shaw and Nodder, 1791
Histiophorus gladius Day, 1878
Istiophorus gladius Smith, 1949
Histiophorus gladius (Bloch, 1793)
(Junior synonym)
Histiophorus immaculatus Ruppell, 1830
(Junior synonym)
Histiophorus indicus Cuvier, 1832
(Junior synonym)
Histiophorus orientalis Temminck & Schlegel, 1844
(Junior synonym)
Istiophorus amarui Curtiss, 1944
(Junior synonym)
Istiophorus brookei Fowler, 1933
(Junior synonym)
Istiophorus dubius Bleeker, 1873
(Junior synonym)
Istiophorus eriquius Jordan & Ball, 1926
(Junior synonym)
Istiophorus gladifer Lacepede, 1801
(Junior synonym)
Istiophorus gladius (Bloch, 1793)
(Junior synonym)
Istiophorus gladius greyi Jordan & Evermann, 1926
(Junior synonym)
Istiophorus greyi Jordan & Evermann, 1926
(Junior synonym)
Istiophorus greyii Jordan & Evermann, 1926
(Junior synonym)
Istiophorus immaculatus (Ruppell, 1830)
(Junior synonym)
Istiophorus japonicus Jordan & Thompson, 1914
(Junior synonym)
Istiophorus ludibundus Whitley, 1933
(Junior synonym)
Istiophorus orientalis (Temminck & Schlegel, 1844)
(Junior synonym)
Istiophorus platypterus (Shaw, 1792)
(Senior synonym)
Istiophorus triactis Klunzinger, 1871
(Junior synonym)
Scomber gladius Bloch, 1793
(Junior synonym)
Xiphias platypterus Shaw, 1792
(Senior synonym)
Xiphias velifer Bloch & Schneider, 1801
(Junior synonym)
Histiophorus dubius Bleeker, 1873
Istiophorus gladus (Bloch, 1793)

Common Name (s)
• Sailfish (English)
• Indian Sail Fish (English)
• Peacock Fish (English)
• Kunga (Gujarati)
• Tadmachhi (Gujarati)
• Fung Hibaru (Mahl)
• Olameen (Malayalam)
• Tadmasa (Marathi)
• Pacific Sailfish (English)
• Thalapathu (Tamil)
• Mayilmin (Tamil)
• Yemungolah (Tamil)
• Indo-Pacific Sailfish (English)
• Thalapaththu
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
(Fisheries, gamefish. Utilized fresh, smoked and frozen; also used for sashimi and sushi; eaten broiled and baked.)

Habitat:  Pelagic, Open Sea, Coastal
Trophic Level:  Tertiary Consumer
Prey:  Fishes, crustaceans and cephalopods
Predator:  Orcinus orca


• Andhra Pradesh, Vishakhapatnam INDIA (Record: 2004-2006)
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai Coast INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Agatti INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Minicoy INDIA
• Lakshadweep INDIA
• Red Sea
• Kerala, Vizhinjam INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Parangipettai (Lat: 11.48) (Long: 79.76) INDIA (Record: 10/2007-03/2008)
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands INDIA
• Tamil Nadu INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Tuticorin INDIA
• Andhra Pradesh, Vishakhapatnam INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Froese, R and Pauly, D (2000) Fishbase 2000: Concepts, design and data sources ICLARM 344 pp Available at -
  • Rohit, P; Rao, GS and Rammohan, K (2008) Yellowfin tuna fishery by traditional fishermen at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin, India 50(1) 62-68 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Marine Biological Station, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (2003) Checklist of marine fauna of Tamil Nadu Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Available at -
  • Dr. Ramesh, R; Dr. Nammalwar, P and Dr. Gowri, VS (2008) Database on coastal information of Tamil Nadu Report Submitted to Environmental Information System (ENVIS) Centre, Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Institute for Ocean Management, Anna University, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Available at -
  • 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
  • Talwar, PK and Kacker, RK (1984) Commercial sea fishes of India ZSI, Calcutta 997 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Fischer, W and Bianchi, G (Eds.) (1984) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Western Indian Ocean (Fishing Area 51) FAO, Rome 2 Available at -
  • Ravi, V and Sekar, V (2010) Dietary composition of the sailfish Istiophorus platypterus (Shaw & Nodder, 1792) from Parangipettai, southeast coast of India Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India Cochin 52(1) 102-104 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • 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 -
  • Ammini, PL; Khambadkar, LL and Augustine, SK (2008) A brief report on the marine fisheries of Puri, Orissa Marine Fisheries Information Service Technical and Extension Series CMFRI 195 6-10 Available at -
  • 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 -

Page last updated on:2011-12-07

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