Do Swordfish Stab Sharks? [Yes, Know How]

Yes! Swordfish have been observed using their bills to defend themselves against sharks. In fact, in some cases, swordfish actively hunt and kill sharks. However, it’s important to note that these interactions are not common and typically occur only when the swordfish is threatened or needs to defend itself.

Despite this, swordfish and sharks usually coexist harmoniously in the ocean. Even so, they both play an important role in maintaining the delicate balance of the marine ecosystem.

We’ll examine their biology, history, and behavior to gain a complete understanding of this age-old myth. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this journey, regardless of your answer. So, let’s dive in and learn whether swordfish can stab sharks.

Swordfish and the Use of Their Swords

Well, swordfish use their swords, also known as bills, for a variety of purposes. Usually, the sword is an elongated, flat, and sharp structure that extends from the upper jaw of the fish. It can grow up to three times the length of the swordfish’s body. 


Here are some ways that swordfish use their swords-

Slash and stun prey

One of the main uses of the sword is to slash and stun prey. Swordfish are fast and powerful swimmers, and they use their swords to slash through schools of smaller fish, stunning them and making it easier to catch and eat them.

Protect from damaging

The sword is also covered in a layer of skin and scales, which helps to protect it from damage during hunting and other activities.

Helps to swim faster

Furthermore, the swords help the swordfish to swim faster, giving them an advantage over their prey and helping them to outmaneuver their predators. 

Defend purpose

The sword can also be used to impale prey, as well as to defend itself against predators.

Regulate temperature

In addition to its use in hunting and defense, the sword also helps the swordfish regulate its body temperature. The swordfish has a network of blood vessels that run through it, allowing it to transfer heat from its muscles to the surface of the sword, where it can be dissipated into the water. 

This helps the swordfish to maintain a stable body temperature, even in cold or warm water.

Reach to the target

The flat bill enables the swordfish to cut through the water with incredible speed and agility, allowing them to quickly and efficiently locate and capture their target.

Help to navigate in the ocean

This powerful weapon also allows the swordfish to navigate and survive in the open ocean easily.

Do Swordfish Stab Sharks? Mystery of Sharks

The swordfish is a magnificent and majestic fish known for its amazing physical characteristics. When swordfish attack their prey, they can move at incredible speeds, reaching up to 60 miles per hour.

But the most common question that comes to people’s minds is, “Do swordfish really  stab sharks?” Is it really true?

Well, let’s explore the mystery of sharks and swordfish and find out.

swordfish and shark

Mystery of Sharks – Stabbed’ by Swordfish ( an In-depth Explanation) 

Recent discoveries suggest that sharks may not always be the ones doing the attacking. Scientists have found that some sharks have been ‘stabbed’ by swordfish, leaving them with serious injuries and even causing their deaths.

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Moreover, it is true that the ocean is full of surprises, and we are just beginning to scratch the surface of what it has to offer. Scientists may discover more surprising behaviors in the ocean as they study the complex interactions between different species.

However, according to a study published in the journal Ichthyological Research, a swordfish attacked a shark found dead on a Libyan beach. A resident who spotted the lifeless shark near Brega discovered an incident.

Approximately six feet long, the swordfish had attacked the shark three days before it washed ashore. In the shark’s body, an 11.8-inch blade was found, also known as a rostrum. There is still a need for more data to support the hypothesis that competition may drive swordfish attacks on sharks.

Also, the study suggests that future research should do necroscopies on sharks that have washed up on shore and look closely at how they interact with swordfish. The incident highlights swordfish’s predatory nature and the potential dangers they can pose.

In fact, the discovery of swordfish attacking sharks raises many questions about ocean ecosystem dynamics. such as-

  • Is there a reason why swordfish attack sharks?

Actually, it’s unclear why swordfish would attack sharks, as they are not a common prey item for them. Some scientists say swordfish may defend themselves or their young from sharks because they perceive them as a threat. There is also speculation that swordfish compete with sharks for food.

  • When did sharks first get stabbed by swordfish?

The first recorded case of a shark being fatally stabbed by a swordfish was in 2016 in Valencia, Spain. Researchers believe that the swordfish are targeting vital structures such as the eyes and brain with intention and accuracy.

They found that several species of shark had wounds consistent with the injuries caused by swordfish bills. Some sharks had been impaled through the gills, while others had injuries to their dorsal fins or skulls.

  • What happened to the shark after it was stabbed?

Sharks suffer severe injuries, but they are known for their resilience. A number of sharks stabbed by swordfish survived and continued living in the ocean. However, the injuries were too severe for some sharks, and they did not survive.

  • What type of shark is the main victim?

Most swordfish stabbing victims in the Mediterranean are blue or mako sharks, which devour young swordfish. However, in some cases, the sword fragments appear to come from adult swordfish. Some people believe the swordfish felt threatened and attempted to defend itself.

Researcher’s Opinion about the Mystery of Sharks and Swords

Some researchers believe these attacks are coincidental and occur during hunting, whereas others believe the swordfish are deliberately targeting the sharks. They also speculate that global warming could be triggering the attacks, but there is currently no data to confirm this.

However, recent findings indicate that high-speed, high-stakes underwater duels may occur between swordfish and sharks. It is difficult to record the exact nature of shark encounters because sharks’ bodies sink to the bottom.

Furthermore, it is still unclear whether the swordfish are being proactive or attacking in self-defense, but the researchers believe it is more likely the latter due to the smaller size of the swordfish. The reason this behavior is being detected more frequently is that, until recently, scientists had not been looking for it. 

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Has a Large Swordfish Ever Stabbed a Shark?

Yes! There are a few reports of large swordfish using their long bills to hurt or kill sharks. According to the New York Times, several more swordfish deaths have been recorded along the Mediterranean coast since 2016.  

swordfish kill a shark by stabbing

Dead thresher sharks measuring almost 15 feet were found washed up along the coast of Libya in April of an undisclosed year with adult swordfish blades stuck in their backs. Almost three feet long, the swordfish sword penetrated the shark’s body deeply, killing it.

In fact, another well-known example occurred in 2016 off the coast of Florida, when a swordfish impaled a small shark with its bill. This video shows a swordfish swimming at high speed toward a shark and striking it with its bill, which penetrates its body. The shark ultimately dies from its injuries.

Do Swordfish Stab Humans?

The answer is true indeed! Swordfish are formidable predators and have been known to attack humans when provoked. But they are not typically aggressive toward humans, and attacks are rare. In most cases, such incidents occur when a human enters the fish’s territory.

swordfish stab humans

While swordfish are not usually considered a threat to humans, they can be dangerous to fishermen who attempt to catch them. The powerful fish can put up a fierce struggle when caught, and their sharp bills can cause serious injuries.

However, there have been some documented cases of swordfish causing serious injuries to humans. They are-

One particularly notable incident occurred in 2015 when a man fishing off the coast of Hawaii was struck by a swordfish that jumped out of the water. The swordfish’s bill pierced the man’s neck, causing a deep wound that required emergency medical treatment.

Also, in 2019, a swordfish killed a fisherman off the coast of Italy while he was fishing. According to reports, the man was struck by the swordfish’s bill while attempting to reel it in. The impact of the blow caused the swordfish’s bill to penetrate the man’s skull, causing a fatal injury.

These incidents are extremely rare and swordfish are not typically considered to be a significant threat to human safety. So, it’s important to exercise caution when fishing for swordfish and to use appropriate gear and techniques to minimize the risk of injury.

Do Swordfish Stab Other Sea Life? 

Yes, swordfish stab other ocean creatures. Swordfish primarily feed on squid and small fish. However, they have also been known to eat crustaceans, octopuses, and even other smaller fish.

However, a swordfish can be identified by its long, sword-like snout, which is often used for hunting for prey. While their snouts can certainly stab other creatures, it is not a common behavior.

Their excellent vision also makes them effective hunters in deep water because they can see well in low light. In some cases, swordfish may use their snouts to defend themselves against predators, but this is only done in extreme circumstances and rarely results in injury. 

Generally, swordfish are peaceful creatures and prefer to avoid conflict when possible.

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What Happens If a Swordfish Breaks Its Sword?

If a swordfish breaks its sword, the animal will still be able to survive. But it would no longer be able to hunt as effectively or defend itself from predators. Usually, swordfish use their swords to defend themselves from predators and hunt prey, but they will instead rely on their powerful tails to propel themselves and help them catch their food.

So, this could cause a decrease in overall health and potentially lead to premature mortality due to starvation or predation. But, thankfully, swordfish are able to grow a new sword in a matter of weeks and will resume normal activity shortly after.

However, swordfish are an important food source for humans and play a vital role in the marine food web. Therefore, any disruption to the swordfish population must be monitored and managed appropriately.


How sharp is a swordfish?

The swordfish is an incredibly sharp fish, both literally and figuratively. It has an elongated, flattened bill with razor-sharp edges that are used to slash and stun its prey. Furthermore, this sharp bill is made of cartilage and has a layer of tough enamel-like material, allowing it to slice through flesh easily.

Nonetheless, its agility and sharpness make it one of the best predators in the ocean, capable of taking down even the fastest prey. 

Can a swordfish kill a orca?

No, a swordfish is not powerful enough to kill an orca. Orcas, also known as killer whales, are the top predators of the ocean. They are considerably larger and stronger than any other animal in the sea, and they have a powerful bite that can easily crush the bones of their prey. 

Swordfish, on the other hand, have a much smaller body size and are not equipped with the same strength and power as an orca. While a swordfish could potentially injure an orca, it is unlikely to be powerful enough to kill one.

Do swordfish, killer whales, and sharks get along well 

No, they are not! There has been little research done on sharks’, killer whales, and swordfishes’ interactions, but anecdotal evidence suggests they are not necessarily friendly. Generally, these animals are apex predators and should be respected and treated with caution when encountered.

However, various factors, including food availability and space, may influence their interactions. Due to this, it is difficult to tell if these predators get along well together. Nevertheless,

Has anyone been stabbed by a swordfish?

To be frank, reports of swordfish attacks on humans are extremely rare. However, there have been a few documented cases of swordfish attacks resulting in injury. In one instance, a man was stabbed in the arm while spearfishing. Afterward, the swordfish was retrieved and examined at the hospital.

In another instance, a person was stabbed by a swordfish while snorkeling. In both cases, the injuries were minor and the individuals were treated and released from the hospital. 


Occasionally, swordfish and sharks will interact in the wild after a chance encounter or when a shark is attempting to scavenge on a dead or weakened swordfish. It’s also worth noting that swordfish are not typically aggressive toward other marine animals unless they are threatened or provoked.

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