Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

September 4, 2011

Juvie Sailfish

Photo credit, Jay R. Rooker:

Photo credit, Pisces Sportfishing:

Juvenile Sailfish rarely make it into the news. This little guy is the rare exception. Generally speaking, fishermen go for the trophies - the biggin's. The fish in the above picture is estimated to be only FOUR months old and weigh three pounds. From egg to three pounds in four months? That is amazing!

So why do the juveniles rarely make the fishing news? The obvious reason is that they go uncaught by hook-and-line. Again, why? They are big enough to take a hook, but they aren't usually landed. Well, apparently, they don't occur where fishermen fish for Sails. So where are they? Do they school in a different location and at a different depth than adults? Do they feed on different prey? Are they avoiding the adults as not to become prey themselves? I haven't a clue.

According the the FAO Species Catalog, spawning takes place inshore in warm water, with females releasing up to 4.3 million eggs. Larval Sails feed primarily on copepods, but switch to fin fishes at an early age. According the the FLMNH Ichthyology database, Sails are .125 inches at hatching. They lack the long bill and tall dorsal fin. By six months of age, they are 4.5 feet and 6 pounds. Growth then decreases.

Well, this means that Sailfish are not only ravenous, but they are also successful. They are eating machines at the larval and adolescent stages. They eat... a lot! But, where? If you find out, please let me know :)

Click here to go to FLMNH, and here to go to FAO. Oh, and HERE for the Texas A&M research page. Have fun!

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