Billfishes


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Billfishes, marlins and sailfishes are the common names for the members of the Istiophoridae family. The family members are distinguished by their upper jaw which prolonged into a long spear and round in cross-section. Their caudal fin are large and forked, with a pair of keels on either side at base, and a small shallow notch on both upper and lower profiles of caudal peduncle. Both their first dorsal fin and anal fins can be folded back into grooves.

Members of the Istiophoridae are found in the tropical and subtropical seas around the world. There are 5 genera and 11 species worldwide. In Malaysia there are 3 genera and 5 species.

Billfishes are among the largest and swiftest fishes of the oceans, mostly found near the surface of waters. They are long distance migratory fishes. They are carnivorous fish, and feed commonly on other schooling fishes, crustaceans and squids. They are excellent game fishes and frequently caught using drifting bait.


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Scientific Name: Istiompax indica  (Cuvier, 1832)
English Name: Black Marlin
Mandarin Name | 鱼类中文名: 黑旗鱼 (Hēi qí yú), 马林鱼 (Mǎ lín yú)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Mersuji, Tumbuk Banir, Mersuji Hitam
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลากะโทงแทงดำ (Plā ka thong thæng dả), ปลากระโทงแทงด้า (Plāk ra thong thæng d̂ā)
Main Identification Features: A pair of keels on caudal peduncle. Height of first dorsal fin shorter than highest body depth. Pectoral fins rigid. Second dorsal fin anterior to second anal fin.
Size: Maximum total length about 4.5 m. Maximum body weight about 700 kg.
Habitat and Ecology: Oceanic, highly migratory, and epipelagic. Often in waters close to coasts and islands. A visual predator, usually found at the upper layers of water above the thermocline. Dive into deeper waters during the day and feed on a wide variety of fishes, crustaceans, and cephalopods, but mostly on small tunas. Stay at surface waters at night.

Black Marlin




Scientific Name: Istiophorus platypterus  (Shaw, 1792)
English Name: Indo-Pacific Sailfish
Mandarin Name | 鱼类中文名: 雨伞旗鱼 (Yǔsǎn qí yú), 雨伞马林, (Yǔsǎn mǎ lín), 东方旗鱼 (Dōngfāng qí yú)
Local Malay Name: Mersuji, Ikan Layaran, Layaran Pasifik
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลากะโทงร่ม (Plā ka thong r̀m), ปลากระโทงแทงร่มอินโด-แปซิฟิก (Plāk ra thong thæng r̀m xin do-pæsifik)
Main Identification Features: Upper jaw elongated, spear shape. Dorsal fin greatly enlarged, sail-like with black spots. The dorsal fin is squared off in front and is highest in the middle. Pelvic fins extremely long and narrow.
Size: Maximum total length about 3.5 m. Maximum body weight about 100 kg.
Habitat and Ecology: Oceanic, highly migratory, and epipelagic. Often in waters close to coasts and islands. A visual predator, usually found at the upper layers of water above the thermocline. Dive into deeper waters during the day and feed on a wide variety of fishes, crustaceans, and cephalopods. Stay at surface waters at night.











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Scientific Name: Kajikia audax  (Philippi, 1887)
Synonym: Tetrapturus audax  (Philippi, 1887)
English Name: Striped Marlin
Mandarin Name | 鱼类中文名: 红肉旗鱼 (Hóng ròu qí yú),箕作枪鱼 (Jīzuò qiāng yú), 马林鱼 (Mǎ lín yú)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Marlin, Mersuji Tahil
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลากะโทงแทงลายบั้ง (Plā ka thong thæng lāy bậng), ปลากระโทงแทงลาย (Plāk ra thong thæng lāy)
Main Identification Features: Nape fairly elevated. Height of first dorsal fin higher than highest body depth. A pair of keels on caudal peduncle. Pectoral fins falcate and flexible. Flanks with cobalt/bluish stripes. 1st dorsal fin dark blue, other fins dark brown, and anal fin bases with a tinge of silvery white.
Size: Maximum total length about 3.5 m; body weight to about 200 kg.
Habitat and Ecology: Oceanic and epipelagic. Often in waters far from coasts and islands. Mostly solitary, but form small schools during spawning season. A visual predator, usually found at the upper layers of water above the thermocline. Dive into deeper waters during the day and feed on a wide variety of fishes, crustaceans, and cephalopods. Stay at surface waters at night.

Striped Marlin

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