Infographic: All About Billfish

Billfish—which include swordfish (family Xphiidae), marlin, sailfish, and spearfish (all members of the family Istiophoridae)—are best known for their prominent bills which they use to catch fish, squid, and other forms of prey. What else is cool about billfish? Here’s a practical guide to the predatory fish.

Infographic: All About Billfish, PBS Nature

  • Shelly Klinger

    Fascinating! As a resident of the Great Plains, I have had limited exposure to these fish (through only television and books.) I thought that the sailfish and swordfish were the same thing. Thank you for educating me on this topic!

  • Charlie Connolly

    Why is it that white marlin are not incuded in your field guide?
    It is a crime that such magnificent creatures (billfish, tuna, etc.) are killed by fishermen. Many are endangered or threatened.

  • James Freeman


    As Charlie above was saying, you did leave out white marlin but you also missed blue marlin and striped marlin.

    And in response to Charlie’s comment about fisherman killing billfish, it is not all fishermen that do. Many sportfishermen enjoy billfishing and practice billfish conservetion through catch and release, the use of circle hooks, etc.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the video on the baby sailfish as I nhad never seen that before and found it very interesting.


  • Paul Wright

    Nature: Great doc on “Superfish”. I commend Rick Rosinthol on his two yr work and educating the rest of us. That HD cam is the best. What a wonder that something so small can grow so big. 1000 lbs is beyond my wildest dream. Sport fishing in the ocean is truly a experence for me, from crabbing to striper fishing, its truly a thrill to be just out in the ocean for a day. But what Rick was talking about in general was: where did all those ghost go from the early 50’s? Well take a look at how Peru has devistated the fishery. Can’t blame the people who harverst the fish, they are just trying to make a living. They aren’t educated on the harm they are doing to fishery. Sad. This truly is a red flag and I hope the “long line fisherman” on the east coast get a clue too! Regards, Tall Paul…..

  • Elise

    Your show was so wonderful..I could feel the rocking of the boat. I have never taken a billfish, only yellowtail but had a small sailfish chomp on my shrimp. And did that baby JUMP! Not for long because 10lb test wouldn’t hold him (it was small) but the joy and beauty he brought was just thrilling. And your photo show bought back that warm glow…loved it!

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