Common Sawshark, Pristiophorus cirratus (Latham, 1794)
Doggies, Longnose Sawshark, Saw Dog, Saw Shark, Southern Saw Shark
Three species of sawsharks are recorded from Australian waters. The other two species are the Southern Sawshark, P.nudipinnis and the Tropical Sawshark, Pristiophorus delicatus recently described in 2008.
The Common Sawshark has a long tapering saw-shaped snout with 19 to 25 large teeth on each side. It is endemic to Australia.
What do Common Sawsharks look like?
The Common Sawshark is a slender fish with two dorsal fins. It has a large mouth with rows of small teeth. The long tapering saw-shaped snout has 19 to 25 large teeth on each side and a pair of barbels. These barbels are slightly closer to the snout tip than the mouth. It has five gill slits on either side of the head.
This species is yellowish to grey/brown above and white below. There are darker bands on the dorsal surface and dark spots The sides of the saw are often darker.
Where do Common Sawsharks live?
It is endemic to Australia. It occurs in continental shelf and slope waters (100 m - 630 m) from Coffs Harbour, northern New South Wales to Jurien Bay, south-western Western Australia, including Tasmania.
Both the Common Sawshark and Southern Sawshark, Pristiophorus nudipinnis, occur in Australia's southern temperate waters. The Tropical Sawshark, Pristiophorus delicatus, is known from tropical waters off north-eastern Australia.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
What do Common Sawsharks eat and what is their life cycle?
Feeding and diet
Common Sawsharks feed on small fishes and crustaceans.
The Common Sawshark is born at 35-38cm and can grow to 1.4m. Males mature at ~97cm TL while females mature at ~107cm TL.
They are aplacental viviparious (give birth to live young that develop from eggs in the female) and produce biennially on average 10 pups per litter after a gestation period of 12 months. Common Sawsharks are thought to live for 15 years.
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- Bray, D.J. 2017, Pristiophorus cirratus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 05 Aug 2022, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/2018
- Ebert, D.A., Fowler, S., Compagno, L., 2016. Sharks of the World, Wild Nature Press, pages 1-528
- Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Edition 2. CSIRO. Pp. 644, Pl. 1-91.