Spinoid scales appear early in the development of Swordfish, Xiphias gladius, and are first discernable in the larval stage. Scales vary in form between two principal types: small single and multispined scales and large multispined scales. Unlike the typical teleostean condition, Xiphias scales are attached along their base, not at their proximal end within scale pockets. Scales persist in juveniles and adults, that is, scales are not shed or resorbed. Scales become more deeply embedded within the dermis as the dermis thickens in ontogeny; consequently only the tips of spines protrude through the dermis of adults. A network of mucous canals with regularly spaced pores to the exterior develop in the dermis of adults, and the mucus produced further insulates scales from the surface of the integument. The ontogeny of the squamation of Xiphias differs from that of the related Istiophoridae.
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Vol. 2004 • No. 2