It's Saturday, which means it's #SawfishSaturday! TFUI is proud to introduce you to this medium-sized (they can get up to 3 metres long, but some say it may be up to 7 metres!) sawfish... *drumroll* the largetooth sawfish (Pristis pristis).
A slender animal, it is yellowish in color and its chain-saw looking rostrum has 18-23 teeth on either side of it. Like other sawfish, they have broad pectoral fins and a tall first dorsal fin. These sawfish have observed from Western Australia (WA) to Queensland. Here, they prefer the mud and silt that often accompanies freshwater environments and marine estuaries. #Finfact: Did you know that these sawfish reportedly spend their first 3-4 years in freshwater? Neat!
According to research conducted in 2005, largetooth sawfish move into marine waters after the wet season, and during the wet season enter estuarine or fresh waters to breed (Peverell 2005). You may be wondering what "marine waters" are. Water in a marine system is at or near the full salinity of seawater.
Largetooth sawfish tend to be in water greater than 1 m depth but may move into the shallows to feed. They eat fish, molluscs, and crustaceans. These sawfish are viviparous, and reach sexual maturity at about seven (7) years. Lifespan is not concretely known but has been suggested that they can get up to about 40 years old.
With such a long rostrum, the largetooth sawfish can get caught up in gillnets- thankfully, there is no gillnet fishing allowed in freshwater in the Northern Territory of Australia. They have not been reported as bycatch in our searches, and seem to be uncommon in their range. In the Northern Territory, it is classified as Vulnerable. IUCN has assessed these animals as Critically Endangered (CR).
what are your thoughts on this sawfish?
you may also like:
TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
SEE MELISSA'S TEDx TALK HERE:
SEARCH BY CATEGORIES