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Pristidae
SAWFISHES
Life   Vertebrata   Fish

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Overview
Main identification features
  • long saw
  • head flat, body shark-like
  • 2 large ds
  • pectoral large, broad
FAMILY PRISTIDAE

SAWFISHES

Sawfishes are primarily confined to marine and estuarine habitats in tropical regions, but several species regularly occur in fresh water and are believed to reproduce there. Currently two genera and four species are recognized from the tropical Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, with one, perhaps two, species of one genus in the tropical eastern Pacific.

Sawfishes are shark-like in many respects, particularly the shape of the fins, but their close relationship to rays is indicated by the ventrally situated gill slits. The elongate snout is equipped with a row of large, flattened teeth along the lateral margins. This saw apparatus is used to dig for food, which largely consists of molluscs and other benthic invertebrates. It has also been reported that it is used to kill fish, but there is insufficient documentation. Sawfishes are ovoviviparous, females give birth to about 3-5 pups at a time.


References
  • Béarez, P., 1996., Lista de los Peces Marinos del Ecuador Continental., Revista de Biologia Tropical, 44:731-741.
  • Candanedo , C. and D'Croz, L., 1983., Ecosistema acuático del lago Bayano: un embalse tropical., Publicación Técnica IRHE, Dirección de Ingenieria, Departamento de Hidrometeorología, Panamá., :38pp.
  • Compagno , L. J. V. and Cook, S. F., 1995., The exploitation and conservation of freshwater elasmobranchs: status of taxa and prospects for the future., Journal of Aquariculture and Aquatic Sciences, 7:62-90.
  • Compagno, L.J.V., 1999., Checklist of living elasmobranchs. In Hamlett W.C. (ed.) Sharks, skates, and rays: the biology of elasmobranch fishes., The John Hopkins University Press:471-498.
  • Findley, L.T., Hendrickx, M.E., Brusca, R.C., van der Heiden, A.M., Hastings, P.A., Torre, J., 2003., Diversidad de la Macrofauna Marina del Golfo de California, Mexico., CD-ROM versión 1.0. Projecto de la Macrofauna del Golfo .  Derechos reservados de los autores y Conservación Internacional.
  • Fischer , W. , Krup , F. , Schneider , W. , Sommer , C. , Carpenter , K. E. and Niem, V. H., 1995., Guia FAO para la Identificacion de Especies de para los fines de la Pesca. Pacifico Centro-Oriental. Volumen II. Vertebrados - Parte 1., FAO2:647-1200.
  • Jimenez-Prado, P., Béarez, P., 2004., Peces marinos del Ecuador continental / Marine fishes of continental Ecuador., SIMBIOE/NAZCA/IFEA tomo 1 y 2.
  • Jordan , D.S. and Evermann, B.W., 1896., The fishes of North and Middle America: a descriptive catalogue of the species of fish-like vertebrates found in the waters of North America, north of the Isthmus of Panama. Part I., Bull. U.S. Nat. Mus., 47:1-1240.
  • Linnaeus, C., 1758., Systema Naturae, Ed. X. (Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata.) Holmiae., Systema Nat. ed. 10, 1:1-824.
  • Lopez , M. I. and Bussing, W. A., 1982., Lista provisional de los peces marinos de la Costa Rica., Revista de Biologia Tropical, 30(1):5-26.
  • Nelson, J.S., 1984., Fishes of the World (Third edition)., John Wiley and Sons:523pp.

Acknowledgements

I thank Ashley MacDonald and John Pickering, University of Georgia, for technical support in building this page.


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