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The long billed (Atlantic) Spearfish (TETRAPTURUS PFLEUGER)

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SPEARFISH, LONG BILLED (ATLANTIC) / TETRAPTURUS PFLEUGERI
4 8 21.00 46.5 Puerto Rico Canary Is. 100703 S. Friedrich
6 12 21.60 47.10 Puerto Rico Canary Is. 310712 J. Friedrich
8 16 28.12 62.0 La Gomera Canary Is. 040602 J. Prowse
10 20 33.00 72.12 Puerto Rico Canary Is 260602 D. Friedrich
15 30 58.00 127.14 Puerto Rico Canary Is 200599 P. Cashmore
24 50 27.50 60.10 San Miguel Azores 080587 K. Weber
37 80 25.00 55.2 Faial Azores 101085 P. Bourquin
AT AT 58.00 127.14 Puerto Rico Canary Is. 200599 P. Cashmore

The long billed (Atlantic) spearfish ( TETRAPTURUS PFLEUGER)

is known to occur in the northwest Atlantic from New Jersey to Venezuela, including the Gulf of Mexico.

Spearfish can be distinguished from other billfish by a slender, lightweight body, short bill, and a dorsal fin that is highest anteriorly (higher than in marlin and lower than in the sailfish). The vent is located well in front of the anal fin; in all other billfish, the vent is located close to the anal fin.

The bill of the shortbill spearfish is barely longer than its lower jaw, whereas in the longbill spearfish it is about twice as long, but it is still noticeably short when compared to that in other billfish. The pectoral fins of the shortbill and Mediterranean spearfish barely reach to the curve of the lateral line; in the longbill spearfish, they extend beyond the curve. The longbill spearfish has more elements (45 to 53) in the first dorsal fin than any other Atlantic billfish, although it may appear similar to the white marlin. The shortbill spearfish has approximately the same count (47 to 50 elements), but the Mediterranean spearfish has fewer (39 to 46). The lateral line is single and arches above the pectoral fins. The dorsal fin is bright blue and has no spots. The vertical bars on the body are never as prominent as in other billfish and may show only slightly or not at all.

long billed (atlantic) spearfish (TETRAPTURUS PFLEUGER)

There is very little scientific information available on spearfish. It is widely believed that spearfish do not live much more than five years. They reach maturity after two years.

These species are lesser-known and small members of the Istiophoridae family of billfish that are also referred to as slender spearfish.

They are pelagic, offshore, deep-water fish that appear to be available all year in small numbers but are infrequently encountered by anglers in most parts of their range. They feed at or near the surface, mainly on small and medium-sized fishes and squids, including dolphin, sauries, flying fish, needlefish and pilot fish. They appear to be available all year in small numbers.


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