Interesting Article On Billfish (and Tuna Too)

cabezon

Sculpin Enterprises
WFF Supporter
I ran across this article in the BBC web site [the original url that was here is wrong. I have corrected it below] that describes some of the physiological and morphological adaptations of billfish and tuna that are key to their biology. In particular, the article debunks some of the more outlandish swimming speed claims that are bandied about and highlights some data on actual recorded swimming speeds. One of the interesting theories from this work to me is the thought that the enlarged hearts and gill apparati of some billfish and tunas are not adaptations for aerobic speed but for fast recovery after anaerobic sprints.
Steve
The correct url is http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20161025-the-one-thing-everyone-knows-about-swordfish-is-wrong.
 
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Dipnet

The wanted posters say Tim Hartman
WFF Supporter
Hmmm...I get a "404 Error - page not found" message when I click that link, Steve.
 

SilverFly

Active Member
Hmmm...I get a "404 Error - page not found" message when I click that link, Steve.
I got the same error when clicking on the link, but you can read the article if you go to the BBC.com home page. Click on "Earth" in the bar at the very top. The article is then accessible from the Earth page under "Truth about Animals".
 

SilverFly

Active Member
Interesting article, thanks for posting!

This goes a long way to explain the incredible recovery rates these fish have, and why you can't give them any rest during a fight.

I've also always wondered how accurate the speeds that are quoted for sailfish and other pelagics. Sailfish are generally quoted as the fastest fish in the ocean but looking the shape of a Wahoo, I have very hard time believing it isn't the fastest - by far.

I do admit though that 68 mph does seem a bit ridiculous for sailfish, or any species, but 16mph as a maximum for tuna just doesn't sound right to me. That's 11 mph slower than the fastest human sprinting speed. Maybe I've been misjudging the speeds I've seen backing disappear off my reels, but it seems unlikely a sprinting human could blur a reel handle the same.

I did notice that the scientists quoted normal swimming and hunting speeds, but no mention of flight response speed. Seems easy enough to test with a reel fitted with a calibrated encoding device. Damn, now I have another gear project... my wife is gonna be pissed :rolleyes:.
 
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cabezon

Sculpin Enterprises
WFF Supporter
Interesting article, thanks for posting!

I did notice that the scientists quoted normal swimming and hunting speeds, but no mention of flight response speed. Seems easy enough to test with a reel fitted with a calibrated encoding device. Damn, now I have another gear project... my wife is gonna be pissed :rolleyes:.
I was curious too and in my searching ran across this paper [Walters, V. and H.L. Fierstine, 1964. Measurements of swimming speeds of yellowfin tuna and wahoo. Nature 202:208-209.] by Walters and Fierstine that measured brust swimming of yellowfin and wahoo that were hooked off Costa Rica and recording with modifications to their reel and line. You can find a copy of the article here: digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1001&context=bio_fac.
You can find estimates of maximum swimming speed based on physiology, such as this study by Svendsen et al 2016. in the journal Biology Open: bio.biologists.org/content/biolopen/early/2016/08/18/bio.019919.full.pdf. On page 8, they indicate that their estimate of maxim speed in sailfish (8.3m/s = 18.5mph) is slightly higher than those observed when sailfish are hunting (7m/s = 15.6mph). And they provide some reasons why their measurements of theoretical maximum speeds are likely to be lower in fish in the wild. Interesting stuff.
Steve
 

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