Small-Tooth Sawfish

Pristis pectinata

Small-Tooth Sawfish 2018-02-18T02:25:53+00:00
CLASS Chondrichthyes
ORDER Pristiformes
FAMILY Pristidae
GENUS Pristis
SPECIES pectinata
Download Fact sheet (PDF)

IDENTIFICATION

The prominent toothed snout makes this ray easy to identify. Usually 24-28 unpaired teeth on each side of the ‘saw’ (hence the name ‘sawfish’).

SIZE & AGE

Maximum length up to 18 feet (5.5 m). They reach sexual maturity at about 10 years of age and may live for up to 20 years.

HABITAT

Found most commonly in shallow coastal waters but reported as deep as 400 feet (121 m); juveniles prefer shallow coastal waters including estuaries and adults are most often found in deeper water.

FEEDING

Thought to feed on fishes and benthic crustaceans.

REPRODUCTION

Aplacental viviparity (fertilized stingray eggs remain in the mother’s uterus, ingesting their yolk sacs. Once they have fully consumed their yolk sacs, the embryo is nourished by “uterine milk”), a lipid and protein-rich fluid, secreted by the mother. Gestation period is unknown. Up to 15 to 20 pups per litter.

HUMAN FACTORS

Protected by the State of Florida and the US federal government under the Endangered Species Act.
Non-aggressive species. Sometimes caught on hook and line by fishers that target sharks, tarpon, snook, and red fish. Should be handled with care and released unharmed.
FWC has a program for people to report sawfish sightings (http://myfwc.com/research/saltwater/fish/sawfish/contact/).

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: The information contained in this document was gathered from various sources, including Florida Ray Identification Guide.