Animal Species:Common Sawshark, Pristiophorus cirratus (Latham, 1794)

The Common Sawshark has a long tapering saw-shaped snout with 19 to 25 large teeth on each side. It is endemic to Australia.

Common Sawshark, Pristiophorus cirratus

Sally Reader © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Common Sawshark

Alternative Name/s

Doggies, Longnose Sawshark, Saw Dog, Saw Shark, Southern Saw Shark

Identification

The Eastern 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 grey to brown above and white below. There are two brownish stripes along the top of the snout. The sides of the saw are often darker.

Sawshark from Fish Thinkers on Vimeo.

Size range

The Eastern Sawshark grows to at least 1.1 m in length.

Similar Species

Four species of sawsharks are recorded from Australian waters. The other three species are the Common Sawshark P.cirratus, the Southern Sawshark P.nudipinnis and the undescribed Tropical Sawshark Pristiophorus sp. B.

Distribution

It is endemic to Australia. It occurs in continental shelf and slope waters (100 m - 630 m) from northern New South Wales to south-western Western Australia.

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. Click on the map for detailed information.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Pristiophorus cirratus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Common Sawshark specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?

Classification

Species:
cirratus
Genus:
Pristiophorus
Family:
Pristiophoridae
Order:
Pristiophoriformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Edition 2. CSIRO. Pp. 644, Pl. 1-91.

 


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags Fishes, Ichthyology, Eastern Sawshark, Pristiophorus sp. A, Pristiophoridae, Pristiophorus cirratus, Common Sawshark, long and skinny, odd-shaped body, > 1m, saw-shaped snout, Doggies, Longnose Sawshark, Saw Dog, Southern Saw Shark, saw-shaped teeth, large teeth, barbels, brown, five gill slits, marine, adult, Australia,