Published in Bulletin of Marine Science, Volume 61, Issue 2, January 1, 1997, pages 495-499.
Billfishes (Istiophoridae and Xiphiidae) are notorious for driving their rostra into animate and inanimate objects, a behavior usually resulting in transverse fracture of the bill and leaving the distal segment embedded (Gudger, 1940; Frazier et aI., 1994). Some billfishes recover from this loss because there are records ofapparently healthy fish with missing rostra (Frazier et aI., 1994). Generally only one rostral fragment is found in each object, but multiple stabbings have been reported. For example, fragments of three swordfish bills were discovered in a whale during flensing (Jonsgard, 1962), several "marlin" spears were found impaled in bales of rubber that were floating at sea (Smith, 1956), and two istiophorid rostra were identified in the timber of a vessel that was brought in for repair (Gudger, 1940; Fierstine and Crimmen, 1996). The following is a detailed account of a large Atlantic blue marlin with two rostral fragments embedded in its head and is the first record of a fish with multiple wounds. I briefly discuss whether impalement was the result of a predator-prey interaction, if embedded rostra aid in understanding migration patterns in both prey and predator, and the effect of impalement on a predator.
Journal hompage: http://www.rsmas.miami.edu/bms.