> Eukaryotes >
> Metazoa (animals) >
Deuterostomia > Chordata >
Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates) > Gnathostomata (jawed
vertebrates) > Chondrichthyes > Elasmobranchii >
Batoidei > Rajiformes
Large tropical sharklike rays with long
saw-snouts, small pectoral fins, stout flat bodies, thick tails,
large caudal fins, and 2 large dorsal fins. Sawfish are livebearing.
A single family, Pristidae, with 4 or more species, 3 in the area.
Sawsharks (p. 34) are slimmer, with smaller saw-teeth, rostral
barbels, and the gill slits on the sides of the head as in other
Species found in Southern Africa
Pristis microdon (Greattooth sawfish)
A heavy-bodied sawfish with a short, massive
saw, this broad-based, strongly tapering, and with 14 to 22 very
large teeth on each side. Space between last two saw-teeth on a side
less than 2 times that between first two teeth. Pectoral fins high
and angular, 1st dorsal mostly in front of pelvic fins, caudal fin
with a pronounced lower lobe. Colour greenish, grey or golden-brown
above, cream below.
Pristis pectinata (Smalltooth sawfish)
A slender sawfish with a long narrow, slightly
tapering saw, with 21 to 28 (possibly to 34) small teeth on each
side. Space between last two saw-teeth on a side is between 2 to 4
times that between the first two teeth. Pectoral fins low and
angular, 1st dorsal over pelvic fins, caudal fin without a lower
lobe. Colour green, grey or dark brown above, cream below
Pristis pristis (Common sawfish)
Pristis zijsron (Green sawfish)
A slender sawfish with a long, extremely
narrow, slightly tapering saw, with 23 to 32 pairs of small teeth.
Space between last two saw-teeth on a side is 4 to 8 times that
between the first two teeth (2 to 3 times in young). Pectoral fins
low and rounded, 1st dorsal partly behind pelvic fins, caudal fin
without a pronounced lower lobe. Colour greenish above, cream below.