- Sailfish live in the warmer waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and are a type of billfish, which also includes marlins and swordfish.
- Sailfish are very hydrodynamic and have a very low drag coefficient.
- Sailfish can reach up to 70 mph, according to some reports!
There is considerable debate about which are the fastest fish in our oceans but the creature in this clip has got to be amongst the front runners. It is a sailfish, and these guys are named by many experts as the fastest animals in the sea. Others claim that the black marlin is faster but we are just happy to marvel at the speed the fish in this clip is traveling at!
The Speedy Sailfish
Sailfish are a type of billfish and this group also includes marlins and swordfish. They like to live in the warmer waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and feed on crustaceans, small fish, and cephalopods such as octopus and squid. These are large fish! Some can reach 10 feet in length (from bill to tail) and can weigh up to 220 pounds.
You may spot them working as a group to disrupt schools of sardines or anchovies by thrashing at the smaller fish, disorientating them, and making them easier to catch.
These fish have a couple of stand-out features that make them instantly recognizable. Firstly, there is the spear-like bill which can be used for catching larger fish. Then, there is the dorsal fin that also comes in handy for hunting. The sailfish use it to create a fence around their prey that traps them so that they can be caught.
Moving Through the Ocean
In the below clip, we get to see how the sailfish also uses its dorsal fin as a brake and a rudder so that it can control both its direction and speed. This boat (and the attached camera) is clearly moving pretty fast, yet the sailfish can keep up with it and attack the camera with its bill. There are reports that these guys can reach up to 70 mph!
So, how do they reach these speeds? It may be down to a combination of a lot of power and very little drag. Drag is the resistance between an animal’s body and the water and it limits how fast they can go. The sailfish is very hydrodynamic and has a very low drag coefficient – similar to that of much smaller fish. Yet, they have a lot more power than these smaller creatures, allowing them to reach high speeds. The fact that they can retract their sail, as you see in this vid, reduces drag even further. Very handy when you are chasing boats!
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