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the Legacy continues…………………….
Gregory R. Mann, Ph.D. {ret.}

Saw Shark

“Pristiophorus cirratus”

The ocean floor is home to some odd beasts. The Saw Shark is a type of shark best known by its saw-like snout. The Saw Shark is definitely one of the strangest. It’s very easy to see where the name comes from: the long, flat snout bears about 25-45 serrated teeth on either side. So with its long slender body, this marine creature is basically a swimming saw. Right in the middle of the snout, 2 whisker-like barbels give the Saw Shark the appearance of having a long, thin mustache. There are 10 different species of Saw Shark that can be found in the waters of Japan, Australia & South Africa. Saw Sharks live in temperate waters of the coastal areas, usually on depths below 130 feet. These interesting creatures are often killed because of their delicious meat. The overall number of Saw Sharks have declined in the past couple of decades due to commercial fishing.

Interesting Facts 
*   Saw Sharks can reach 5 feet in length and up to 18.7 pounds in weight. Females are slightly larger than males.

 

*   The body of Saw Shark is covered with placoid scales (called dermal denticles) with pointed tops. Saw Sharks have yellowish-brown skin, covered with dark blotches and spots. Skin coloration provides camouflage and easily blends with the sandy bottoms.

 

*   The Saw Shark has long snout edged with sharp teeth which alternate in size (smaller teeth are inserted between larger teeth).

 

*   Saw Sharks have a pair of barbels in the middle of the snout. They are used as a sensory organ which facilitates detection of the prey.

 

*   Saw Sharks have 2 dorsal fins but lacks anal fin. Saw Sharks have 5-6 pairs of gills depending on the species located laterally behind the head.

 

*   Saw Shark gills are located on the bottom side of the body like in rays.

 

*   Just like other species of sharks, Saw Sharks use an organ called “Ampullae of Lorenzini” which contains electroreceptors to detect prey.

 

*   Saw Sharks use their serrated snout to kill the prey. Fast movement of the snout from side to side, cuts the prey into fine chops that can be swallowed easily.

 

*   Saw Sharks are a carnivore (meat-eater) with their diet consisting of various types of fish, crustaceans & squids.

 

*   Saw Sharks can live as a solitary creature or be a part of a group called school.

 

*   Mating season of Saw Sharks takes place seasonally in the coastal areas. Females mate once every 2 years.

 

*   Saw Sharks are a ovoviviparous animal which means that eggs hatch inside the female’s body after pregnancy of 12 months. Female can deliver from 3-22 babies with an average litter usually consists of 10 babies.

 

*   Young Saw Sharks are born with folded teeth to prevent serious injuries of mother during the birth. They are born fully developed and look like miniature version of adults.

 

*   Saw Sharks take care of their young until they become sexually mature at the age of 2 years and able to fend for themselves.

 

*   Saw Sharks can survive more than 15 years in the wild.
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