Beware of the sharp teeth of all cutlassfishes when handling them, even after they are dead. The eating qualities of these fish can be greatly improved if they are killed immediately by iki jime or a firm knock to the head before placing them in an ice slurry after bleeding. A firm knock on the head may be easier to implement to stun the fish first before attempting iki jime.
- The largehead hairtail, or cutlassfish, has a thin, elongate ribbon-like body, iridescent silver/steely blue in colour which lacks both caudal (tail) and ventral fins, a tiny anal fin, and ending in a thin whip-like tail.
- This species possesses a very large mouth with barbed fangs and often a black blotch on the front of the dorsal fin.
- Young hairtail feed primarily on crustaceans, but older fish prey on a range of smaller pelagic fish species.
- Largehead hairtail occur worldwide in tropical and temperate waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, including the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Sea of Marmara, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf.
- This species is mainly found in continental shelf and slope waters from inshore over muddy bottoms to a depth of at least 350 m (1150 feet), but schools of hairtail may enter estuaries at certain times of year.
- Adults conduct daily vertical feeding migrations, feeding near the surface during the day, and migrating towards the bottom at night.
Fish Size Common Length:
60-120 cm (2-4 feet), maximum size 250 cm (8 feet 4 inches) and 6 kg (13 lb). World record 5.1 kg (11 lb) from Kagoshima, Japan.