The Fins United Initiative is excited to bring the "Underrated Elasmobranch Spotlight" series through TFUI officer Jess Myers. Learn about the sharks not shown on the big screen through her beautiful artwork!
Waving its rostrum into our next spot on the Underrated Elasmobranch list is the Large Tooth Sawfish (Pristis pristis). It may look like a shark, but they are more closely related to rays! They can grow as long as 6.5m (~20ft)! Sawfish are well known and sought out for their rostra (the “nose”) that are adorned with spikey teeth. They use these saws to stun and catch their prey as they sit along the ocean floor.
In 2016, it was found that baby sawfish are born with fully formed saws! But wouldn’t that hurt the mom? Sawfish have got that covered – literally! The young pups rostrums’ are covered in a jelly-like sheath so mom doesn’t get all cut up during the birthing process.
Because of their late maturity and small litter sizes, sawfish have trouble maintaining the population. Their saws make them vulnerable to trophy fishing and get them easily tangled in nets. Without their rostra, they cannot survive. With all of these factors, populations are declining to critically endangered level on the ICUN Red List.
what underrated chondrichthyan do you think shark week should showcase?
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
SEE MELISSA'S TEDx TALK HERE:
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