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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Fin-tastic Facts About The Largetooth Sawfish For Kids

One of the best largetooth sawfish facts is that it is commonly misunderstood to be a shark, but it is in fact, a ray.

The largetooth sawfish species of fish is one of the most recognizable in the world. This freshwater sawfish, also known as P. Microdon or Pristis perotteti, is found in the Indo West Pacific Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, northern Australia, West Africa, the Indian Ocean, as well as along the eastern Atlantic and the western Atlantic coasts.

The largetooth is largely a freshwater sawfish as a juvenile, which moves to live in oceans as it grows into an adult. This particular species of sawfish happens to be a ray and not a shark, which is a common misconception about these fish! Their prominent saws (or rostrums), which make up about 20% of their length, have multiple functions. They can be used to hunt prey and to communicate with their surroundings. The largetooth itself can fall prey to a shark or a crocodile and it defends itself by slashing its saw from side to side. This species of sawfish are protected under the Endangered Species Act since they have been endangered by illegal international trade for their meat and rostrums.

Find out more about the black sea bass and the cichlid in more Kidadl animal articles!

Largetooth Sawfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a largetooth sawfish?

The largetooth sawfish is a fish.

What class of animal does a largetooth sawfish belong to?

The largetooth sawfish belongs to the fish class of animals.

How many largetooth sawfish are there in the world?

The exact number of largetooth sawfish in the world is unclear, but we know that the number is very small as these fish are classified as Critically Endangered.

Where does a largetooth sawfish live?

Largetooth sawfish live in the ocean as adults.

What is a largetooth sawfish's habitat?

The largetooth sawfish can be found on the coasts of tropical as well as subtropical countries. As juveniles, they live in freshwater estuaries of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Largetooth sawfish adults are found in marine waters. It is one of the more common sawfish species. The largetooth exists in natural coastal waters at a depth of about 32.8-82 ft (10-25 m). They migrate upriver and their preferred water temperature is 75-90 F (24-32 C ). The largetooth sawfish can rarely survive below a temperature of 66 F (19 C). They also like to live in a waterbody with a floor of mud or sand.

Who do largetooth sawfish live with?

Largetooth sawfish live on their own, but newborn sawfish live with their mothers.

How long does a largetooth sawfish live?

A largetooth sawfish may live for anywhere between 30 to 80 years.

How do they reproduce?

Largetooth sawfish reproduce using internal fertilization. A female sawfish breeds every alternate year.

What is their conservation status?

Their conservation status is currently Critically Endangered.

Largetooth Sawfish Fun Facts

What do largetooth sawfish look like?

Largetooth sawfish are one of the most recognizable fish in the sharks and rays family of fish. It is important to remember that this fish is a ray and not a shark. The length of these sawfish can range anywhere from 20-23 ft (6-7 m), and up to 25% of their length is attributable to their rostrums (or saws). They exist in various colors such as gray, golden-brown, and cream. They have a white underside and may sometimes appear reddish as well. They have prominent and striking pectoral and dorsal fins as well, sometimes resembling a shark fin. Their saws have large teeth (hence the name), which come in handy when hunting and providing self-defense.

Largetooth sawfish look like a mixture of sharks and rays.

How cute are they?

Although the saw (or rostrum) of a largetooth sawfish can look menacing, it can help to know that they are docile towards humans. They have a striking appearance with a saw that makes up 15-25% of their entire body length. These saws have large teeth which they use to hunt or to disturb the floor of the waterbody they reside in. They have beautiful, prominent dorsal and pectoral fins, which they use to climb with, when captive. They exist in multiple colors such as gray, brown, and cream and can be described as cute.

How do they communicate?

They communicate using their saw (or rostrum), which identifies the electric fields around other fish in the water.

How big is a largetooth sawfish?

The largetooth sawfish has a typical length of about 20-23 ft (6-7 m), but more recently, some have been observed to be just 6-8 ft (1.8-2.5 m) long. A largetooth sawfish is about three to 12 times the size of a grass carp, a common fish.

How fast can a largetooth sawfish swim?

The exact speed of the largetooth sawfish is not known, but since they can swim upriver and through waterfalls, we know that they are powerful swimmers.

How much does a largetooth sawfish weigh?

Largetooth sawfish can weigh anywhere between 1,012-1,323 lb (500-600 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

Males and females are both referred to simply as largetooth sawfish.

What would you call a baby largetooth sawfish?

A baby largetooth sawfish is simply called a young largetooth sawfish.

What do they eat?

Largetooth sawfish generally eat prawns, crustaceans, mollusks, and other fish.

Are they aggressive?

Largetooth sawfish are docile towards humans but they are known to defend themselves when distressed using their teeth and their saw, slashing this saw from side to side. They use this same technique to dismember their prey.

Would they make a good pet?

They are not a good pet, but they can be kept in a public aquarium. They are one of the more common fish on display around the world.

Did you know...

The largest number of largetooth sawfish found in a single place is in Australia. The Gulf of Mexico, Peru, Texas, Uruguay, South Africa, and India are other countries where a significant largetooth population can be found.

They can swim forwards and backward when held captive. They can also climb with the help of their pectoral fins!

The typical largetooth sawfish habitat is freshwater and not salty water. As they grow older these fish move towards saltwater habitats.

Largetooth sawfish predators include sharks and crocodiles.

The National Marine Fisheries Service in the USA failed to have the largetooth sawfish recognized as an endangered species in 2003.

The IUCN has a shark specialist group that strives to protect sharks and sawfish, and other related fish.

Many largetooth sawfish die after getting tangled in fishing nets by accident.

How many largetooth sawfish are left in the world?

The exact number of largetooth sawfish left in the world is unclear. This species used to be found in 75 countries of the world in the early 20th century, but presently, it is observed only in 20 nations. The largetooth sawfish (Pristis pristis) is considered to be a Critically Endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. (IUCN). The main threat to these fish is overfishing and the illegal international trade for its meat and its rostrum as a novelty collector's item.

Largetooth sawfish conservation is even more essential considering that this illegal trade is still thriving. These sawfish are protected and were listed under the Endangered Species Act in the USA as P. perotteti in 2011, which was changed to P. pristis in 2014. The largetooth sawfish (Pristis pristis) is also protected in Australia. Aside from Australia, there are varying levels of protection available to this endangered species in India, Bangladesh, Brazil, Malaysia, Mexico, Senegal, South Africa, Nicaragua, Indonesia, and Guinea.  

What makes largetooth sawfish susceptible to humans?

The largetooth sawfish (Pristis pristis) is a Critically Endangered species. This sawfish species is itself docile to humans but faces a constant threat from us. Humans are the biggest threat to largetooth sawfish. The fish is hunted for its meat, as well as its saw, which is sold as a novelty item. As more of the world wakes up to the need to conserve nature and the need to protect endangered marine species such as the largetooth, there is hope that this coastal fish population might be saved.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including the rainbow cichlid, or the Electric Blue Jack Dempsey.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our angel fish coloring pages.  

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