What are the fastest fish in the sea?

Not too long ago, I provided an update on the fastest fish in the sea, the Indo-Pacific sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus). I thought it would be interesting to do some research on how fast this fish is in comparison to other animals on land and in the sea and create a graphic to illustrate it.  First, some notes, there are some outliers I left off the chart. For instance, the Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) at 325 miles per hour (mph), as well as pretty much the entire family of swifts (Apodidae) averaging a 106 mph flying speed. Also, I am certain there are many other species of terrestrial and flying animals that can be included in this list, I only added a few to compare. Please feel free to comment below or send me an email at info@beachchairscientist.com if you have something to add to the list!


Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) 200 mph
Swift (Apodidae) 106 mph
Sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus) 70 mph
Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) 70mph
Pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana) 61 mph
Striped marlin (Tetrapturus audax) 50 mph
Wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri) 48 mph
Southern blue fin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) 47 mph
Yellow fin tuna (Thunnus albacares) 46 mph
Blue shark (Prionace glauca) 43 mph
Ostrich (Struthio camelus) 43 mph
Bonefish (Albula vulpes) 40 mph
Swordfish (Xiphias gladius) 40 mph
Tarpon (Megalops cyprinoides) 35 mph
Tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) 33 mph
Hawk moth (Sphingidae) 33 mph
Human (Homo sapiens) 27 mph

For more information I recommend The Travel Almanac and The Top 10 List.

Can you name the state fish of Hawai’i?

It’s “Humuhumunukunukuāpua’a” in case you missed it when the bartender mentioned it in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. As a bonus, I’ll also give you a rundown of all the other states with a state saltwater/game fish. Some you may already know, but  some might surprise you! I never would have thought that so many states have striped bass designated as a state fish or state saltwater fish. After all, there are over14,000 species of saltwater fish out there.

(If I missed one please feel free to let me know and I’ll add it to the list. All you have to do is leave a comment of email info@beachchairscientist.com.)

Fighting tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) – These fish can absorb oxygen and live in waters with almost no oxygen.

King salmon  (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) – These fish regularly exceed 45 lbs and the largest on record was a 126 lb caught in 1949.

Garibaldi (Hypsypops rubicundus) – These fish are very territorial and call kelp forests home of choice.

American shad (Alosa sapidissima) – These fish only have one dorsal fin and one anal fin.

Weakfish (Cynoscion regalis) – These fish are not weak at all but quite strong fighters. The name refers to the easily torn part membrane in its mouth.  A fond memory of my childhood involves my grandfather always giving my folks some weakfish he caught on his boat, Irish Eyes.

Atlantic sailfish  (Istiophorus albicans) – These fish are the fastest fish in the sea and have been observed at speeds above 65 miles per hour.

Humuhumunukunukuāpua’a (Rhinecanthus rectangulus) – This fish has blue teeth.

Striped bass (Morone saxatilis) – These fish are also commonly known as rockfish.

Cod (Gadus morhua) – These fish will change colors depending on where it spends its days. If it prefers the sea floor it will appear gray and if it prefers algal areas it will appear greenish.

North Carolina:
Red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) – These fish got their name from their coloring and from the drumming sound produced by their  their swim bladder.

New Hampshire:
Striped bass (Morone saxatilis) – These fish prefer coastlines and are most active in the spring and fall. Sport fishermen love to catch them during the striper runs.

New York:
Striped bass (Morone saxatilis) – These fish are the most popular sportfish on the Atlantic coast. 

Rhode Island:
Striped bass (Morone saxatilis) – These fish prefer to eat before dawn and at dusk. 

South Carolina:
Striped bass (Morone saxatilis) – These fish do not have eyelids so when the sun is out they prefer to retreat to deeper waters.