Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays) > Pristiformes
(Sawfishes) > Pristidae
Etymology: Pristis: Greek, pristis = saw (Ref. 45335).
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; freshwater; brackish; demersal; amphidromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 10 m (Ref. 27000). Tropical; 24°C - 26°C (Ref. 2060); 22°N - 39°S, 20°E - 154°E
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?, range 240 - 300 cm
Max length : 700 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 58048); common length : 500 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 2683); max. published weight: 600.0 kg (Ref. 3164); max. reported age: 30 years (Ref. 9859)
soft rays: 0. A heavily-bodied sawfish with a short but massive saw which is broad-based, strongly tapering and with 14-22 very large teeth on each side; space between last 2 saw-teeth on sides less than 2 times space between first 2 teeth (Ref. 5578). Pectoral fins high and angular, 1st dorsal fin mostly in front of pelvic fins, and caudal fin with pronounced lower lobe (Ref. 5578). Greenish, grey or golden-brown above, cream below (Ref. 5578).
Indo-West Pacific: East Africa to New Guinea, north to the Philippines and Viet Nam, south to Australia. Also Atlantic and eastern Pacific if Pristis perotteti and Pristis zephyreus are synonymized with this species. The original description of Pristis microdon did not give a locality, but most authors have used the name Pristis microdon for the Indo-West Pacific sawfishes of this species group as contrasted from the Atlantic Pristis perotteti and the eastern Pacific Pristis zephyreus.
Inhabits sandy or muddy bottoms of shallow coastal waters, estuaries, river mouths, and freshwater rivers and lakes. Usually found in turbid channels of large rivers over soft mud bottoms (Ref. 2847, 44894). Adults usually found in estuaries and young ascend into fresh water. Large adults can also be found in fresh water, but are rarely caught (Ref. 12693). Feeds on benthic animals and small schooling species. Ovoviviparous (Ref. 50449). The saw is used for grubbing and attacking prey as well as for defense. The saws sell as tourist souvenirs (Ref. 7248). Occasionally caught by demersal tangle net and trawl fisheries in the Arafura Sea; possibly extinct in parts of the Indo-Pacific; highly susceptible to gill nets. Utilized for its fins and meat (both of very high value), and skin and cartilage (Ref.58048).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Ovoviviparous, embryos feed solely on yolk (Ref. 50449). Gestation period about 5 months (Ref. 9859); litter size 1- 13 (Ref. 5578). Probably breeds in freshwater (Ref.58048).
Last, P.R. and J.D. Stevens, 1994. Sharks and rays of Australia. CSIRO, Australia. 513 p. (Ref. 6871)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)
Threat to humans
Traumatogenic (Ref. 4690)
Fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5312 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00490 (0.00194 - 0.01235), b=3.05 (2.83 - 3.27), based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)Family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.9 ±0.61 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Very Low, minimum population doubling time more than 14 years (tm=10; tmax=30; Fec=1).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Very high vulnerability (87 of 100) .