Greased lightening

September 4, 2016

Swordfish (Xiphias glades) are definitely a bucket list species for most fishos... Largely due to the fact that they grow so big, pull so hard, and move so fast, reaching an impressive top speed of around 100km per hour. And researchers have just worked out how: they grease their heads.

Scientists have identified an oil-producing gland at the base of their bill that produces a water-repelling oil which coats their head, reduces drag. Much the same as when you wear a swimming cap while doing laps.

 

This helps them to chase down pretty much anything they pursue - which is mostly squid and bony fish - making them a formidable predator when used in combination with their bill, which is used their bill to slash and maim prey, often cleanly slicing them into edible sized chunks.

 

Happily you can target these deepwater speedsters confident in the knowledge that their Indian ocean stock is sustainable, according to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation's Status of Australian Fish Stocks report. More work is required to confirm the status of the south-western pacific stock of this iconic species.

 

For more information:

http://jeb.biologists.org/content/219/13/1953.abstract

http://www.int-res.com/articles/meps/22/m022p239.pdf

http://fish.gov.au/reports/finfish/tuna_and_billfish/Pages/swordfish.aspx

 

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CONTACT DETAILS
Recfishing Research Executive Officer
Owen Li
e: owenl@uow.edu.au

p: 0413148222

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