Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Biol Open. 2016 Oct 15;5(10):1415-1419. doi: 10.1242/bio.019919.

Maximum swimming speeds of sailfish and three other large marine predatory fish species based on muscle contraction time and stride length: a myth revisited.

Author information

1
Department of Biology, Marine Biological Section, University of Copenhagen Strandpromenaden 5, Helsingør DK-3000, Denmark.
2
IAMC-CNR, Istituto per l'Ambiente Marino Costiero, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Località Sa Mardini, Torregrande, Oristano 09170, Italy paolo.domenici@cnr.it.
3
IAMC-CNR, Istituto per l'Ambiente Marino Costiero, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Località Sa Mardini, Torregrande, Oristano 09170, Italy.
4
Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Müggelseedamm 310, Berlin 12587, Germany Faculty of Life Sciences, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Invalidenstrasse 42, Berlin 10115, Germany.
5
Department of Biological Science, Marine Sciences Program, Florida International University, North Miami, FL 33181, USA.
6
School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney, Heydon-Laurence Building A08, Sydney New South Wales 2006, Australia.
7
Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Center for Adaptive Rationality Lentzeallee 94, Berlin 14195, Germany.
8
Faculty of Life Sciences, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Invalidenstrasse 42, Berlin 10115, Germany.
9
Bimini Biological Field Station Foundation, 9300 SW 99st, Miami, FL 33176, USA.

Abstract

Billfishes are considered to be among the fastest swimmers in the oceans. Previous studies have estimated maximum speed of sailfish and black marlin at around 35 m s-1 but theoretical work on cavitation predicts that such extreme speed is unlikely. Here we investigated maximum speed of sailfish, and three other large marine pelagic predatory fish species, by measuring the twitch contraction time of anaerobic swimming muscle. The highest estimated maximum swimming speeds were found in sailfish (8.3±1.4 m s-1), followed by barracuda (6.2±1.0 m s-1), little tunny (5.6±0.2 m s-1) and dorado (4.0±0.9 m s-1); although size-corrected performance was highest in little tunny and lowest in sailfish. Contrary to previously reported estimates, our results suggest that sailfish are incapable of exceeding swimming speeds of 10-15 m s-1, which corresponds to the speed at which cavitation is predicted to occur, with destructive consequences for fin tissues.

KEYWORDS:

Coryphaena hippurus; Euthynnus alletteratus; Istiophorus platypterus; Maximum swimming speed; Muscle twitch; Sphyraena barracuda

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no competing or financial interests.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center