FishBase | Search | All Living Things

Tetrapturus angustirostris Tanaka, 1915
Hatchet Marlin; Pacific Shortbilled Spearfish; Short-billed Spearfish; Shortnose Spearfish; Tetrapturus audax Philippi, 1887

Life   Vertebrata   Fish   Istiophoridae   Tetrapturus

Tetrapturus angustirostris
© Copyright IATTC 1999, 2006 · -3
Tetrapturus angustirostris

Click on map for details about points.


Main identification features
  • body very elongate; short spear
  • dorsal fin height = body height
  • pectoral short
Body very elongate; bill very short, usually less than 15% of total length; high front dorsal rays form triangular peak, most of remaining part of fin relatively high; height of anterior lobe of first dorsal fin exceeding greatest body depth; first dorsal fin rays 45-50; second dorsal fin rays 6-7; first anal fin rays 12-15; second anal fin rays 6-8; pectoral rays 17-19, fin short; pelvic fins slender, filamentous, about twice the length of the pectorals.

Dark blue dorsally, blue blotched with brown laterally, and silvery white ventrally, without dots or bars; first dorsal fin dark blue; remaining fins dark brown.

Size: to 240 cm; and at least 33.8 kg..

Habitat: oceanic, pelagic.

Depth: 0-1830 m.

Tropical and temperate Indo-Pacific, entering eastern Atlantic (via Cape of Good Hope) but not spawning there. California to the mouth of the Gulf of California to Peru and the oceanic islands.

Abundance: Common.
Cites: Not listed.
Climate Zone: Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo); South Temperate (Peruvian Province ); North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California); Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap); Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos).
Depth Range Max: 1830 m.
Depth Range Min: 0 m.
Diet: bony fishes; octopus/squid/cuttlefish; Pelagic crustacea.
Eastern Pacific Range: Northern limit=50; Southern limit=-30; Western limit=-126; Eastern limit=-71; Latitudinal range=80; Longitudinal range=55.
Egg Type: Pelagic; Pelagic larva.
Feeding Group: Carnivore.
FishBase Habitat: Pelagic.
Global Endemism: All Pacific (West + Central + East); Indo-Pacific only (Indian + Pacific Oceans); TEP non-endemic; "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific); All species.
Habitat: Water column.
Inshore Offshore: Offshore; Offshore Only.
IUCN Red List: Not evaluated / Listed.
Length Max: 240 cm.
Regional Endemism: Island (s); Continent; Continent + Island (s); Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic; Eastern Pacific non-endemic; All species.
Residency: Resident.
Salinity: Marine; Marine Only.
Water Column Position: Mid Water; Near Surface; Surface; Water column only;

Scientific source:

Links to other sites

  • Briggs, J.C., 1960., Fishes of worldwide (circumtropical) distribution., Copeia, 1960:171-180.
  • Barez, P., 1996., Lista de los Peces Marinos del Ecuador Continental., Revista de Biologia Tropical, 44:731-741.
  • Castro-Aguirre, J.L. and Balart, E.F., 2002., La ictiofauna de las islas Revillagigedos y sus relaciones zoogeograficas, con comentarios acerca de su origen y evolucion. En: Lozano-Vilano, M. L. (Ed.). Libro Jubilar en Honor al Dr. Salvador Contreras Balderas., Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Len:153-170.
  • Eschmeyer , W. N. , Herald , E. S. and Hamman, H., 1983., A field guide to Pacific coast fishes of North America from the Gulf of Alaska to Baja California. Peterson Field Guide Ser. 28., Houghton Mifflin:336pp.
  • Findley, L.T., Hendrickx, M.E., Brusca, R.C., van der Heiden, A.M., Hastings, P.A., Torre, J., 2003., Diversidad de la Macrofauna Marina del Golfo de California, Mexico., CD-ROM versin 1.0. Projecto de la Macrofauna del Golfo . Derechos reservados de los autores y Conservacin Internacional.
  • Grove , J.S. and Lavenberg, R. J., 1997., The fishes of the Galpagos islands., Stanford University Press:863 pp.
  • Jimenez-Prado, P., Barez, P., 2004., Peces marinos del Ecuador continental / Marine fishes of continental Ecuador., SIMBIOE/NAZCA/IFEA tomo 1 y 2.
  • Joseph , J. , Klawe , W. and Murphy, P., 1988., Tuna and Billfish - fish without a country., Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission:69.
  • Lopez , M. I. and Bussing, W. A., 1982., Lista provisional de los peces marinos de la Costa Rica., Revista de Biologia Tropical, 30(1):5-26.
  • Love, M.S., Mecklenburg, C.W., Mecklenburg, T.A., Thorsteinson, L.K., 2005., es of the West Coast and Alaska: a checklist of North Pacific and Artic Ocena species from Baja California to the Alaska-Yukon border., U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, 288pp.
  • Nakamura,., 1985., Billfishes of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of marlins, sailfishes, spearfishes and swordfishes known to date. FAO species catalogue Vol. 5., FAO Fish. Synop. No 125, 125.
  • Tanaka, S., 1915., Figures and descriptions of the fishes of Japan including Riukiu Islands, Bonin Islands, Formosa, Kurile Islands, Korea and southern Sakhalin., Fig. Descr. Fish. Japan, 19:319-342.
  • Van der Heiden , A. M. and Findley, L. T., 1988., Lista de los peces marinos del sur de Sinaloa, Mxico., Anales del Centro de Ciencias del Mar y Limnologia de la Universidad Autonoma Nacional de Mexico, 15:209-224.


I thank Ashley MacDonald and John Pickering, University of Georgia, for technical support in building this page.

Supported by
go to Discover Life's Facebook group

Following modified from Australian Faunal Directory
   Top | See original --->
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts

Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory

You are here:  Environment home » Biodiversity » ABRS » AFD » ANIMALIA (Kingdom) » CHORDATA (Phylum) » VERTEBRATA (Subphylum) » GNATHOSTOMATA (Higher Taxon) » PISCES (Higher Taxon) » ACTINOPTERYGII (Class) » EUTELEOSTEI (Subdivision) » ACANTHOPTERYGII (Superorder) » PERCIFORMES (Order) » SCOMBROIDEI (Suborder) » ISTIOPHORIDAE (Family) » Tetrapturus Rafinesque, 1810 (Genus) » Tetrapturus angustirostris Tanaka, 1915

Species Tetrapturus angustirostris Tanaka, 1915


Regional Maps

External Links

CAAB : 37444007 Taxon concept Tetrapturus_angustirostris last modified 2013-10-09 10:07:52.756

Species Tetrapturus angustirostris Tanaka, 1915

Shortbill Spearfish , Hatchet Marlin, Pacific Shortbilled Spearfish, Short-billed Spearfish, Shortnose Spearfish

Compiler and date details

22 April 2013 - Douglass F. Hoese, Dianne J. Bray, & John R. Paxton & Matthew M. Lockett

20 December 2006 - Dianne J. Bray, Douglass F. Hoese & John R. Paxton


Miscellaneous Literature Names




New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia

Extra Distribution Information

Adelaide, SA to Northwest Shelf, WA, and off northern Great Barrier Reef QLD to eastern Bass Strait, VIC, oceanic species rarely entering coastal waters; tropical, subtropical, temperate, Indo-Pacific, occasionally found in eastern Atlantic.

IBRA and IMCRA regions (map not available)


Southeast Transition (11), Central Eastern Province (12), Tasman Basin Province (13), Central Eastern Transition (15), Kenn Transition (16), Kenn Province (17), Northeast Province (18), Northeast Transition (19), Timor Province (2), Cape Province (20), Northwest Transition (3), Southwest Shelf Province (31), Spencer Gulf Shelf Province (33), Southeast Shelf Transition (37), Central Eastern Shelf Province (38), Central Eastern Shelf Transition (39), Northwest Province (4), Central Western Transition (5), Central Western Province (6), Southwest Transition (7), Southern Province (8)

Distribution References

Ecological Descriptors

Epipelagic, marine, oceanic province, pelagic.

Extra Ecological Information

Offshore, rarely entering coastal waters.


General References

Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia . Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls. [230]

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers . Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls. [142] (943)

Glover, C.J.M. 1994. Family Istiophoridae. pp. 830-832, figs 734-735 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast . Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs. [831]

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Families Sphyraenidae to Centrolophidae. pp. 774-800 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast . Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. [794]

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers . Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp. [104, 141]

Hutchins, J.B. & Thompson, M. 1983. The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of South-western Australia . Perth : Western Australian Museum 103 pp. 345 figs. [64, 86]

Munro, I.S.R. 1961. Handbook of Australian fishes. Nos 1–42. Australian Fisheries Newsletter 15–17, 19, 20 : 1-172 [published as separates 1956–1961] [115] (763, as Makaira audax , in part)

Nakamura, I. 1985. FAO Species Catalogue. Billfishes of the world . An annotated and illustrated catalogue of marlins, sailfishes, spearfishes, and swordfishes known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125, Vol. 5. Rome : FAO. 65 pp. 41 figs [38]

Nakamura, I. 2001. Xiphiidae, Istiophoridae. pp. 3757-3764 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes . Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218. [3764]

Pepperell, J. 2010. Fishes of the Open Ocean a Natural History & Illustrated Guide . Sydney : University of New South Wales Press Ltd 266 pp. [60]

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea . Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. [441]

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea . Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs. [441]


Common Name References

Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast . Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs. [832] (Hatchet Marlin, Pacific Shortbilled Spearfish, Shortnose Spearfish)

Grant, E.M. 1991. Fishes of Australia . Brisbane : EM Grant Pty Ltd 480 pp. [372] (Short-billed Spearfish)

Nakamura, I. 1985. FAO Species Catalogue. Billfishes of the world . An annotated and illustrated catalogue of marlins, sailfishes, spearfishes, and swordfishes known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125, Vol. 5. Rome : FAO. 65 pp. 41 figs [38] ( Shortbill Spearfish )

Seafood Services Australia 2008. Australian Fish Names Standard. ( Shortbill Spearfish )


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
15-May-2013 15-May-2013 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)

Accessibility | Disclaimer | Privacy | Freedom of information | © Commonwealth of Australia
Last modified: Wednesday, 9 October 2013 10:07:52 AM AEDT

Department of the Environment and Energy
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601 Australia
+61 (0)2 6274 1111 ABN

Our land. Our plan. Our future.
Australian Government  

Following modified from Taiwan Biodiversity National Information Network
   Top | See original

Kingdom Animalia  
 Phylum Chordata  
 Class Actinopterygii  
 Order Perciformes  
 Family Istiophoridae  
 Genus Tetrapturus  
  Tetrapturus angustirostris    Tanaka, 1915 
Provider: Wei-Chuan Chiang 
hierarchy tree    download xml    download txt    Chinese Page    
Synonyms: Pseudohistiophorus angustirostris Pseudohistiophorus illingworthi Tetrapterus angustirostris Tetrapturus illingworthi Tetrapturus kraussi   details
Citation: 臺灣魚類誌(沈等, 1993); The Live Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific, Vol.6(FAO, 2001)
Character: The body is elongated and fairly compressed. Bill very short and slender usually less than 15% of body length, round in cross section. Nape nearly straight. Pectoral fins narrow and short and less than 15% of body length. Pelvic fins slender about twice the length of the pectorals. Caudal peduncle fairly compressed (laterally) and slightly depressed (dorsoventrally) with double keels on each side and a shallow notch on both the dorsal and ventral surfaces. Lateral line single and well visible. Body dark blue dorsally, blue splattered with brown laterally, and silvery white ventrally, without dots and stripes. First dorsal fin dark blue, without dots or blotches; remaining fins brown or dark brown; bases of first and second anal fins often tinged with silvery white. 
Habitat: The shortbill spearfish is an oceanic and pelagic fish which does not generally occur in coastal or enclosed waters but is fount well offshore. Spawning is believed to occur mainly during the winter month, especially in warm offshore currents with surface 
Distribution: The shortbill spearfish is highly migratory species, occurred mainly in the tropical, subtropical and temperate waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans and is thought to be strong oceanic, rarely entering coastal waters. Although some stray individuals ar 
Utility: Marketed frozen and prepared as fish cakes and sashimi in Japan. Also prepared as sausages. 
Name Code: 382690
  IUCN Red List:DD       Marine     
Suggested Link    The Fish Database of Taiwan    FishBase    Discover Life    World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS)  
User Response:   upload Comments    upload Photo
Previous Page       Home Page

Following modified from FishBase
   Top | See original ---> --->

You can sponsor this page

Common name (e.g. trout)

Genus + Species (e.g. Gadus morhua)

Tetrapturus angustirostris Tanaka , 1915

Shortbill spearfish Add your observation in Fish Watcher
Native range | All suitable habitat | Point map | Year 2100
Reviewed map
Tetrapturus angustirostris   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
Upload your photos  and  videos
Pictures | Google image Image of Tetrapturus angustirostris (Shortbill spearfish) Tetrapturus angustirostris
Picture by FAO

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes ( gen. , sp. ) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes (Perch-likes) > Istiophoridae (Billfishes)
Etymology: Tetrapturus: Greek, tetra = four + Greek, pteron, fin, wing (Ref. 45335 ) .  More on author: Tanaka .

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Marine; pelagic-oceanic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243 ); depth range 0 - 1830 m (Ref. 86942 ), usually 0 - 350 m (Ref. 89423 ).   Subtropical; 43°N - 56°S, 20°E - 68°W

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Indian and Pacific: tropical and temperate waters. Although some stray individuals are found in the Atlantic Ocean, this species is believed to have its spawning grounds and principal populations only in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Highly migratory species, Annex I of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (Ref. 26139 ).

Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: L m   ?   range ? - ? cm
Max length : 230 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 9308 ); common length : 190 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 9308 ); max. published weight: 52.0 kg (Ref. 43 )

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 51-57; Anal spines : 0; Anal soft rays : 18 - 23. Dark blue above, blue splattered with brown on the sides, silvery white below; 1st dorsal fin plain dark blue, other fins brown or dark brown; anal fin bases with tinges of silvery white.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Oceanic and epipelagic, found above the thermocline (Ref. 9308 ). Feeds on fishes, cephalopods and crustaceans. Also caught as a by-catch of long lines with hooks intended for tuna. Marketed frozen and prepared as fish cakes and sashimi in Japan (Ref. 9308 ). Also prepared as sausages.

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Spawning is believed to occur mainly during the winter months, especially in warm offshore currents with surface temperature of about 25°C.

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Nakamura, I. , 1985. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 5. Billfishes of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of marlins, sailfishes, spearfishes and swordfishes known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(5):65p. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 43 )

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 120744 )

  Data deficient (DD)  ; Date assessed: 03 December 2009

CITES (Ref. 115941 )

Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361 )

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans


Human uses

Fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes FAO(fisheries: production ; publication : search ) | FishSource | Sea Around Us

More information

FAO areas
Food items
Food consumption
Common names
Spawning aggregation
Egg development
Larval dynamics
Aquaculture profile
Allele frequencies
Mass conversion
Stamps, Coins Misc.
Swim. type
Gill area


E-book | Field guide | Identification keys | Length-frequency wizard | Life-history tool | Point map | Classification Tree | Catch-MSY |

Special reports

Check for Aquarium maintenance | Check for Species Fact Sheets | Check for Aquaculture Fact Sheets

Download XML

Summary page | Point data | Common names | Photos

Internet sources

Aquatic Commons | BHL | Cloffa | BOLDSystems | Websites from users | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | Catalog of Fishes ( gen. , sp. ) | DiscoverLife | ECOTOX | Faunafri | Fishtrace | GenBank( genome , nucleotide ) | GloBI | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | IGFA World Record | MitoFish | National databases | Otolith Atlas of Taiwan Fishes | PubMed | Reef Life Survey | Tree of Life | Wikipedia( Go , Search ) | World Records Freshwater Fishing | Zoobank | Zoological Record

Estimates of some properties based on models

Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969 ): 13.9 - 28.8, mean 26.2 (based on 5116 cells). Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805 ):  PD 50 = 0.5630   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high]. Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00457 (0.00226 - 0.00924), b=3.21 (3.02 - 3.40), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this species & (Sub)family-body (Ref. 93245 ). Trophic Level (Ref. 69278 ):  4.5   ±0.76 se; Based on food items. Resilience (Ref. 69278 ):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (Assuming tm=2-4). Vulnerability (Ref. 59153 ):  Moderate vulnerability (42 of 100) . Price category (Ref. 80766 ):   High .

Entered by Froese, Rainer Modified by Valdestamon, Roxanne Rei Fish Forum
Comments & Corrections
Sign our Guest Book Back to Search Random Species Back to Top
Accessed through: Not available FishBase mirror site : localhost Page last modified by : mrius-barile - 20 July 2016
Total processing time for the page : 10.0680 seconds

Updated: 2020-01-22 23:03:44 gmt
FishBase | Search | All Living Things | Top
© Designed by The Polistes Corporation