Sailfish Might Just Be One Of The Ocean’s Smartest Creatures

How familiar are you with the sailfish? If the answer is not a lot, then that should soon change. This creature is one of the fastest, most athletic fish in the ocean. They’re also one of the smartest ocean predators in the world. So, if you’re not familiar with these incredible creatures, it’s time to get educated.

Where in the world can you find sailfish?

If you’re wondering whether you’ve ever encountered a sailfish in the ocean before, it all depends on where you live. These creatures tend to swim in temperate to tropical waters, with their presence in the US typically limited to the southeast. You can also find them in places like Mexico and Bermuda, as well as parts of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Although they’re known for their speed, they don’t tend to travel far away from their habitats.

How can you identify a sailfish from other sea creatures?
Source: Getty Images

How can you identify a sailfish from other sea creatures?

To recognize a sailfish, you’ll need to know its main characteristics. Things to note include the creature’s size, weight, and speed. The sailfish can grow to be ten feet long and may well weigh more than 220 pounds. As for the animal’s speed, it’s not uncommon to see them nearing 70 miles per hour underwater, making them the fastest of all the fish in the ocean. Sailfish also have spear-like bills, large dorsal fins, and are identifiable by their blue bodies and white bellies. The latter may reportedly be decorated with vertical stripes or light blue spots.

What do sailfish eat as part of their diet?

Thanks to the sailfish’s features, capturing prey on their own isn’t too difficult. However, these creatures tend to hunt in groups, a move that makes catching prey easier but reduces how much they actually get. Sailfish will typically hunt animals like squid, crab, shrimp, and other large fish. For creatures like sardines, part of their hunting method involves surrounding a school of these fish and individually attacking. Still, this is often uncoordinated and can be done in groups of several dozen.

Are there any animals that sailfish are prey to?
Source: Columbia Metropolitan

Are there any animals that sailfish are prey to?

Being large, fast, and intelligent creatures means that sailfish are well-equipped to escape other predators. However, that doesn’t mean they never fall prey to other creatures. Sharks, orcas, and Mahi-mahi all reportedly consider sailfish to be food. While a shark might not have the speed that a sailfish does, it’s still capable of cornering and eating these creatures. However, these fish are more likely to fall foul of commercial fishing efforts than they are these predators. Fortunately, the National Marine Fisheries Service in the US prevents sailfish from being sold, kept, or purchased. So, the majority that are caught are promptly released.

Considering the speed of these creatures, where they live, and the prohibitions against selling them, it’s unlikely you’ll ever encounter a sailfish by chance. However, because these fish are so incredible and intelligent, it’s still worth learning about them. After all, it’s better to have an understanding of life in the ocean than not, right?