Sawfish is a flattened marine fish that belongs to the Rajiformes order, a group which also includes rays and skates. These fishes are shaped like a shark but with a long rostrum. They got this name because of the ‘saw’ on their snout.
This saw can be about one-third of their total body length. These fishes are protected by the Endangered Species Act in the United States. It is illegal to catch, harass, collect, buy or sell any part of any species of sawfish.
Quick Facts: –
- There are times when sawfish can be mistaken for a shark but its dorsal fins and swimming motion makes it easy to distinguish.
- The main diet of these fishes consists of smaller fishes and crustaceans.
- They prefer to live in shallow waters, often with muddy or sandy bottoms.
- Their saw is used for hunting and killing prey and sometimes as a weapon and a digging tool.
- They can replace their teeth if they are worn down or lost. This is known as polyphyodonty.
- They are ovoviviparous creatures, meaning their young are in eggs, but eggs develop inside the mother’s body.
- They belong to a group called elasmobranch, which includes fishes that have a skeleton made of cartilage.
- Two sawfish species occur in the United States which are large tooth sawfish and small tooth sawfish.
- These fishes can reach lengths more than 20 feet, depending on species.
- The sawfish rostra cannot be bought or sold legally as they are marked as an endangered species.