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Mahi-Mahi and Swordfish

As part of my ongoing efforts to create a database for servers to reference regarding fish that appears on restaurant menus, here are some fun facts and trivia about mahimahi and swordfish.



Common Name(s): Dolphinfish, Lampuga, Lampuka, Rakingo, Calitos, Maverikos, Dorado

Scientific Name: Coryphaena hippurus

Max Size: 88 lbs (40 Kg)

Common Size: 15-28 lbs (7-13 Kg)

Wild or Farmed: Wild

Schooling:  Yes

Fishing Methods: Troll, Longline, Pole and Line

Mercury Level: Moderate, but higher risk of Ciguatera

Raw color: White with pinkish tint

Cooked color: White with grey tint

Texture: Firm and meaty.  Medium to large flake.

Trivial Facts

Mahi-mahi is often mistaken for a dolphin by consumers on menus.  It is not related to dolphins in any way except for the nickname “dolphinfish.”  A dolphin is a mammal while mahi-mahi is a fish.

mahimahi and mahi-mahi are both correct spellings.

The word “mahi” is Hawaiian for “strong.”  The name mahimahi literally translates into “very strong.”

The name “mahimahi” is derived from the fact that mahi would swim alongside boats for miles at high rates of speed.  This is also a characteristic of dolphins, which is why it is called “dolphinfish” as well.

Male mahimahi have a very pronounce forehead that is not found in the females.  Both sexes are very colorful.



Common Name(s): Broadbill, Espada, and Emperado

Scientific Name: Xiphias gladius

Max Size: 1400 lbs (650 Kg)

Common Size: 198-330 lbs (90-150 Kg)

Wild or Farmed: Wild

Schooling:  No

Fishing Methods: Troll, Longline, Driftline

Mercury Level: High

Raw color: White with pinkish tint

Cooked color: Off white

Texture: Dense and firm.  No flake.

Trivial Facts

Can swim up to 50 mph (80 kph).  It’s speed is its primary offensive and defensive weapon.

The mako shark is one of the few predators that can match the swordfish’s speed.

Swordfish are very aggressive when caught.  This makes them highly prized by recreational anglers.

In the 90’s President Clinton restricted the fishing of swordfish in the North Atlantic due to concerns about declining numbers.  This was successful and the numbers in the Atlantic are currently above target numbers.

Adult swordfish have neither teeth or scales.

See Also:

Mako Shark

Ahi Tuna




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About David Hayden

David Hayden is the creator of The Hospitality Formula Network, a series of websites dedicated to all aspects of the restaurant industry. He is also the author of the book Tips2: Tips For Improving Your Tips and Building Your Brand With Facebook.


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