Swordfish (Xiphias gladius) are large predatory fish that can reach 5 m in length and 300 kg in weight. They can swim 100 km/h and are characterized by a long, flat bill which is actually a protruding upper jawbone (also called a rostral bone), made of bone and cartilage.
Their young are born with teeth but no sword. As they mature, their upper jaw elongates into the sword which accounts for a third of their overall length. Their sword aids in swimming by hydrodynamically cutting through the water. They use it for catching fish by thrashing a school to separate one out or to simply stun their prey.
They are found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans and sometimes cold waters, including the Mediterranean Sea. In Italy’s Strait of Messina, the Tyrrhenian and the Ionian sees meet, supporting a unique and rich marine ecosystem that is also an important migratory route for swordfish who come to the warmer shallower waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea in the Spring to mate. Swordfish feed on squid, octopus, bluefish and mackerel. Their meat is highly appreciated.