Family: Pristiophoridae – Sawsharks
Common Name– Sawsharks
Common Name– Sawsharks
Status: IUCN Red List LEAST CONCERN
Average Size and Length: The Longnose sawshark or Common sawshark is 3.2 feet on average. Its maximum length is 4.6 feet.
Teeth and Jaw: The tooth margins of the Longnose sawshark are blackish. There are 19-21 large lateral sawteeth. 9-11 teeth are in front of the barbels and there are 9-10 teeth behind the barbels. Juveniles have 2-3 smaller teeth between large sawteeth.
Head: The Longnose shawshark has a very long and narrow rostrum that can make up between 26%- 30% of its total body length. The barbels of the Longnose sawshark are halfway down the rostrum, but slightly closer to the rostral tip than the nostrils. It is distinguished by the five gill slits located on the sides of its head, as opposed to sawfish which have gill slits located on the underside of the head.
Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Longnose sawshark is found in the eastern Indian Ocean around southern Australia and Tasmania on the continental shelf at depths of 130–1,020 feet. While it may venture into bays and estuaries on occasion, Longnose sawsharks prefer sandy and gravelly areas offshore between 121–479 feet.
Diet: Known prey of the Longnose sawshark include small fishes and crustaceans.
Aesthetic Identification: The Longnose sawshark has a slender, slightly flattened body, yet it is large and somewhat stalky. It has pale yellow or grayish-brown dorsal coloring, and counter-shaded white ventral coloring, and variegated, sometimes faint dark blotches, spots, and bars on its back. It has a darker brown rostral midline and edges. The fin bases are blotched.
Biology and Reproduction: Longnose sawsharks are ovoviviparous. Longnose sawsharks give birth every other winter to between 6 and 19 pups per litter. After a 12-month gestation period, pups are born between 12–13 inches in length. Their teeth are folded against the snout at birth, which protects the mother from harm. Longnose sawsharks are highly productive in comparison to other shark species, maturing quickly and living for around 15 years.
Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Longnose sawsharks hunt in solidary. They find prey by running their barbels over the ocean floor. They use the teeth on their snouts to stir up sediment and strike prey.
Longnose sawsharks do occur in schools or feeding aggregations.
Longnose or Common Sawshark Future and Conservation: Longnose sawsharks are highly productive and are protected by laws that keep their catch rate stable. Large tracts of their range are protected from all shark fishing, helping to buffer their population loss. Their meat is fairly popular in Australia and is said to have an excellent taste.
Longnose or Common Sawshark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Because of its deep habitat and overall behavior, the longnose sawshark is not a threat to humans.