Sailfish are highly prized game fish and are known for their incredible jumps and great speed. They can swim 100 meters in 4.8 seconds. They can appear in a startling array of colours, from subdued browns and grays to vibrant purples and even silver.
Their body colours are often highlighted by stripes of iridescent blue and silver dots. Sailfish can change their colours almost instantly—a change controlled by their nervous system.
The sailfish can rapidly turn its body light blue with yellowish stripes when excited, confusing its prey and making capture easier, while signalling its intentions to fellow sailfish.
Sailfish grow quickly, reaching 1.2–1.5 metres in length in a single year and feed on the surface or at mid-depths on smaller fish and squid. Individuals have been clocked at speeds of up to 110 kilometres per hour, which is one of the highest speeds reliably reported in any water organism. Generally, sailfish grow to just over 3 metres in length and weigh up to 100 kilograms.
The sail is normally kept folded down and to the side when swimming, but it may be raised when the sailfish feels threatened or excited, making the fish appear much larger than it actually is. This tactic has also been observed during feeding, when a group of sailfish use their sails to "herd" a school of fish or squid.
Fish data extract from INTERNATIONAL GAME FISH ASSOCIATION