Common Sawshark, Pristiophorus cirratus
An 85 cm long Common Sawshark bought at Sydney Fish Markets by Bernard Yau, April 2003 (AMS I.42632-001) Image: Sally Reader
Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    cirratus
    Genus
    Pristiophorus
    Family
    Pristiophoridae
    Order
    Pristiophoriformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The Eastern Sawshark grows to at least 1.1 m in length.

Introduction

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
An 85 cm long Common Sawshark bought at Sydney Fish Markets by BernardYau, April 2003 (AMS I.42632-001) Image: Sally Reader
Australian Museum

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.



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.



References

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