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Common SawShark


The Common Sawshark is also known as Longnose sawshark.

Common Sawshark



    Scientific Name.... Pristiophorus Cirratus
    Family Name
    ...... Pristiophoridae


  • General Information: The common sawshark is also known as the longnose sawshark. Like all the sawshark family, it is immediately recognizable from its saw-like snout with a pair of barbels. Because of its snout, it can sometimes be confused with sawfishes. However the sawshark's five pairs of gills are on the side of its head, while the sawfish's gills are underneath. Also, the sawfish does not have a pair of barbels. The common sawshark is a slender shark with a slightly depressed and flattened body.


  • Size: They can reach a maximum length of 4.4 feet. Although females can reach up to 5 feet.


  • Teeth: All sawsharks have a long, tapering rostrum with teeth on each side. Their teeth vary in size, with smaller teeth in between the larger teeth. If undamaged the rostrum has 19 to 21 enlarged teeth on each side of the "saw".


  • Color: The common sawshark has an attractive pattern of darker bands and brownish spots and blotches on a pale yellowish brown background.


  • Feeding Habits: They feed on small bony fishes and crustaceans. They feed by trailing their barbels along the bottom to locate their prey. The teeth on the snout are probably then used for stirring up sediment to rouse the prey and strike it.


  • Social Behaviour: The common sawshark will aggregate or school. It is also found singly.


  • Habitat | Migration | Distribution: Common sawsharks are found southern Australia, from southern New South Wales, to mid-Western Australia. These sharks are found only in temperate waters and seems to prefer deeper water, on continental shelves and slopes to depths of about 1,012 feet. They may be found lying on the sea floor, usually on sand or mixed gravel-sand substrates.


  • Life Span: The common sawshark lives for more than 15 years.


  • Reproduction: This ovoviviparous, females appear to breed every one to two years. They produce 3-22 young and with 10 being the average. Gestation period is about 12 months and the pups are born in shallow coastal areas. The pups are about 11-14 inches long at birth. The rostal teeth are pliable and bent rearward at birth to prevent damage to the delivering female.


  • Common Sawshark: Harmless, unless provoked.


  • Population Report: Common.

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