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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

21 Fin-tastic Facts About The Sawfish For Kids

Discover interesting Largetooth Sawfish facts

Sawfish or Carpenter Sharks belongs to the rays family, closely related to sharks. It has a long, narrow snout, lined with sharp teeth, resembling a saw called a 'Rostrum.' The scientific name of single sawfish is Pristis. This name is derived from the Greek word "pristes", which means 'saw.' There are five kinds of sawfish, all of which can be grouped into the family Pristidae. They were initially hunted for their fins to make traditional Chinese soup served on special occasions. Their teeth and saw are used in some traditional medicines. From this, they faced habitat loss and experienced a drastic decline in recent decades, these species are rated as Endangered or Critically Endangered by the IUCN. Sawfish were once considered culturally significant in the ancient world. These sawfishes originated 56 million years ago and are considered a symbol of strength, spirituality, and admiration.

While discovering some amazing sawfish facts, try reading our other articles like goblin shark and fangtooth.

Sawfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Sawfish?

Sawfish are cartilaginous fishes. These fishes have four types of fins.  First, they have two pectoral fins used for lifting and steering in swimming; two pelvic fins are used for stabilization. They also have two dorsal fins located on the upper surface to protect them against rolling and assist in sudden jerks. Sawfish use caudal fin or tail to propel. Different species have different sizes and shapes of fins.

What class of animal does a Sawfish belong to?

Sawfish belongs to the Chondrichthyes class, like sharks and chimeras with cartilage skeletons rather than bone.

How many Sawfish are there in the world?

There are five species of Sawfish to date. As per few studies, it is estimated that only about 200-5000 sawfish are left. Today, species of Sawfish includes three smalltooth groups: Green Sawfish (Pristis zijsron), Dwarf Sawfish (Pristis clavata), Smalltooth Sawfish (Pristis pectinata), and a single largetooth group called Largetooth Sawfish (Pristis pristis).

Where does a Sawfish live?

Sawfish live in tropical seas and estuaries. They sometimes exist in freshwater rivers too. Sawfish are primarily found in shallow depths of water from 3.3-33 ft. Young ones can live in a shallow depth of water, only 10 in (25cm) deep. This fish mostly love to live in soft bottoms such as mud or sand and survive in hard rocky bottoms or coral reefs. They are usually found near seagrasses or mangroves.

What is a Sawfish habitat?

Historically, species of Sawfish ranged from East Atlantic's habitat from Morocco to South Africa and West Atlantic from New York to Uruguay, including the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, these species were extensively found on Florida coasts. In East Pacific, they ranged from Mexico to northern Peru and in The Gulf of California. They were once widespread in the Mediterranean sea and Indo-Pacific regions like the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. They also inhabited Korea and southern Japan, through Southeast Asia to Papua New Guinea and some parts of Australia.

Who do Sawfish live with?

Sawfish live in the wild in tropical and subtropical marine environments and can now adapt to freshwater. Being a critically endangered species, Sawfishes are currently kept in public aquariums so humans can preserve these smalltooth and largetooth sawfish and other sawfishes.

How long does a Sawfish live?

Sawfishes majorly consist of smalltooth and largetooth groups; these fishes have a life span ranging from about 30-50 years, depending on species. A Green Sawfish, in particular, can live for 35 years, while a Smalltooth Sawfish can live for over 42 years. The lifespan is a little less about nine years in the Narrow Sawfish.

How do they reproduce?

Sawfish are ovoviviparous. Adult females give birth to young ones once a year or two years. During the Embryo stage, Sawfish have a soft cover to protect their mother. After mating, female species can give birth from 1-23 young ones after several pregnancy months. Some smalltooth Sawfish can also reproduce by parthenogenesis.

What is their conservation status?

Due to over-hunting and changing ecosystems, all five species of Sawfish were listed as endangered or critically endangered as per ICNU. Focusing on Sawfish conservation status, they are legally protected in 19 countries.

Sawfish Fun Facts

What do Sawfish look like?

Amazing smalltooth Sawfish facts for kids.

Sawfish are shark-like marine creatures with rough skin that is typically brown or grey colored. These fish have two eyes with flat heads with an elongated snout, and their mouths, nostrils, and gills are located on the bottom of their bodies. The fish's bottom is flat, allowing them to float effortlessly down the water surfaces.

How cute are they?

Sawfish are named for their long, saw-like snout, which is one-quarter to one-third of its total body length and have a frightening appearance.

How do they communicate?

Sawfish have thousands of sensory organs located in the head and snout; these particular sensing organs called electroreceptors allow them to detect and monitor other organisms' movements by sensing the electric fields in the water.

How big is a Sawfish?

Sawfish are one of the largest fishes globally, getting as big as 7 ft larger than Saw Sharks.

How fast can a Sawfish swim?

Sawfish, although they lack a swim bladder, use their fins, and they swim at a speed of 0.98 mph.

How much does a Sawfish weigh?

The average weight of Sawfish is 500-1,323 lb (227-600 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There is no separate name given to differentiate the male and female sawfishes. However, male sawfishes have claspers at the base of pelvic fins for easy identification.

What would you call a baby Sawfish?

In general, a baby Sawfish is also termed as fry, fingerling, or juvenile sawfishes to other fish species.

What do they eat?

Sawfish prey on small fishes, crabs, crustaceans, and molluscs.

Are they dangerous?

Sawfish is not a treat for humans. However, take care while approaching a sawfish especially if they are entangled in a fishing net. They could attack or kill humans while defending themselves with their rostrum if they feel threatened, especially a largetooth sawfish.

Would they make a good pet?

Sawfish cannot be kept as pets.

Did you know...

Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund donated $24,000 Florida Museum for smalltooth Sawfish conservation study.

Smalltooth vs. Largetooth Sawfish

Smalltooth Sawfish have between 14-24 rostral teeth, whereas the largetooth group has 20-30 teeth. These Rostral teeth are their dermal denticles. These fishes also have 10-12 rows of teeth in their jaws. There are about 88–128 teeth in the upper jaw and about 84–176 in the lower jaw. The pectoral fins of the largegroup are more prominent than those of small group fishes. The lower lobe can also distinguish them because of their caudal fin and their dorsal fin placement.

Is the Sawfish endangered?

All five species are endangered. According to the National Geographic Society, the Smalltooth Sawfish are only found in Florida, and the other four species are found in Northern Australia. Database information of sawfishes entered at the ISED to identify and monitor their conservation.

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 swai fish, or fluke fish.

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

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