(Photo: Juan C. Levesque)
He's perhaps only an inch long. But in a year, he could be over 3 feet long! Juan C. Levesque, a graduate student and fisheries professional, says that the broadbill swordfish (Xiphias gladius) is called the "gladiator of the sea." In a 2014 article for the magazine Florida Sportsman, Levesque describes the life cycle of this fighting fish prized by fishermen:
On average, swordfish grow about 14 inches per year, but there are differences between the sexes. Female swordfish grow faster, live longer, and reach a larger size than male swordfish; almost every swordfish I weighed that was heavier than 200 pounds was a female. It has been reported that swordfish can top 14 feet and 1,400 pounds in weight, but these large fish are rare these days. In my 7 years collecting data on commercial fishing vessels, the largest swordfish I ever saw captured was around 500 pounds; it was caught near West Palm Beach, Florida.