Fish have appeared since Precambrian more than 500 million years ago. Yet, there are still much untamed areas for fish propulsion research. The swordfish has evolved a light thin/high crescent tail fin for pushing a large amount of water backward with a small velocity difference. Together with a streamlined forward-enlarged thin/high body and forward-biased dorsal fin enclosing sizable muscles as the power source, the swordfish can thus achieve unimaginably high propulsion efficiency and an awesome maximum speed of 130 km/h as the speed champion at sea. This paper presents the innovative concepts of “kidnapped airfoils” and “circulating horsepower” using a vivid neat-digit model to illustrate the swordfish’s superior swimming strategy. The body and tail work like two nimble deformable airfoils tightly linked to use their lift forces in a mutually beneficial manner. Moreover, they use sensitive rostrum/lateral-line sensors to detect upcoming/ambient water pressure and attain the best attack angle to capture the body lift power aided by the forward-biased dorsal fin to compensate for most of the water resistance power. This strategy can thus enhance the propulsion efficiency greatly to easily exceed an astonishing 500%. Meanwhile, this amazing synergy of force/beauty also solves the perplexity of dolphin’s Gray paradox lasting for more than 70 years and gives revelations for panoramic fascinating future studies.
2009 The Japan Society for Aeronautical and Space Sciences