Despite the shark-like appearance of their bodies, sawfishes are actually members of the ray family. A sawfish can be easily recognized by its saw-like rostrum, which is long and narrow, with a row of modified, tooth-like scales on either side.
  • Size

    Up to 24 feet (7 m)
  • Diet

    Slow schooling fishes
  • Range

    Indo-West Pacific
  • Habitat

    Found in shallow bays, lagoons and estuaries

Physical Characteristics

  • Common length of 18 feet (5.5 m), with a maximum length of 24 feet (7 m).
  • Heavy, shark like body; very flat on ventral side.
  • Long, narrow rostrum is common to all sawfish. In this species, the “saw” is the longest of all, reaching a maximum length of 5 feet (1.5 m).
  • Typically 25-34 rostal teeth (actually modified dermal dentricles) on either side of the saw.
  • Displays countershading; dark olive or grey on dorsal side and pale yellow or white underneath.

 

Animal Fact

Longcomb sawfish use their sharp rostrum to stun prey.

Diet / Feeding

  • Diet consists primarily of slow schooling fishes, such as mullet.
  • The longcomb sawfish will use its rostrum to help it hunt or forage for food. It will first swim alongside its prey and then strike it with a sudden swipe of its toothed rostrum. This sawfish may also use its rostrum to stir up the sandy bottom to find bottom-dwelling crustaceans and shellfish.

 

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs in the Indo-West Pacific, Australia and Papua New Guinea, eastern coast of Africa north to the Red Sea, as well as China and south to New South Wales.
  • Mainly bottom dwelling, found in shallow bays, lagoons and estuaries. Has been found at depths up to 130 feet (40 m), but 1 to 16 feet (0.3 to 5 m) seems to be most common.

Reproduction & Growth

  • Ovoviviparous- eggs are hatched internally and born as live young.
  • Reaches maturity after 9 years.
  • Females can have litters of approximately 12 pups.

Conservation Status

  • “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • Also known as the “green” sawfish and the “narrow snout” sawfish.
  • Vulnerable to nets; both fishing and shark control nets surrounding beaches.
  • Predators include tiger and bull sharks, as well as freshwater crocodiles.
  • It has been suggested (Grant, 1978) that adult males will use their saws in dominance and mating battles.

Sources

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