Swordfish also known as broadbill in some countries, are large, highly migratory, predatory fish characterized by a long, flat bill. They are a popular sport fish of the billfish category, though elusive. Swordfish are elongated, round-bodied, and lose all teeth and scales by adulthood. These fish are found widely in tropical and temperate parts of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, and can typically be found from near the surface to a depth of 550 m (1,800 ft). They commonly reach 3 m (9.8 ft) in length, and the maximum reported is 4.55 m (14.9 ft) in length and 650 kg (1,430 lb) in weight. They are the sole member of their family Xiphiidae.
The swordfish is named after its bill resembling a sword (Latin gladius). This makes it superficially similar to other billfish such as marlin, but upon examination, their physiology is quite different and they are members of different families.
They commonly reach 3 m (9.8 ft) in length, and the maximum reported is 4.55 m (14.9 ft) in length and 650 kg (1,430 lb) in weight. The International Game Fish Association's all-tackle angling record for a swordfish was a 1,182 lb (536 kg) specimen taken off Chile in 1953. Females are larger than males, and Pacific swordfish reach a greater size than northwest Atlantic and Mediterranean swordfish. They reach maturity at 4–5 years of age and the maximum age is believed to be at least 9 years. The oldest swordfish found in a recent study were a 16-year-old female and 12-year-old male. Swordfish ages are derived, with difficulty, from annual rings on fin rays rather than otoliths, since their otoliths are small in size.
Swordfish are ectothermic animals; however, swordfish, along with some species of sharks, have special organs next to their eyes to heat their eyes and brain. Temperatures of 10 to 15°C above the surrounding water temperature have been measured. The heating of the eyes greatly improves their vision, and consequently improves their ability to catch prey. Of the 25,000+ fish species, only 22 are known to have a mechanism to conserve heat. These include the swordfish, marlin, tuna, and some sharks.