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Sawfish

Sawfish

Sawfish are marine shark like cartilaginous fish in the family Pristidae in order Rajiformes. Sawfish are characterized by their long snout nose which has sharp teeth on each side. Like other rays, sawfish lurk to attack schools of preyfish with its long snout, and devour the injured fish. The long snout also serves as a defensive weapon, inflicting serious injury on any enemy attacking it. Sawfish have gill slits on the under-surface of the body on both sides, posterior to the mouth, as in other rays.

Sawfish are generally found in shallow waters in tropical seas, with some species occurring in brackish or fresh water. A population of sawfish lives in Lake Nicaragua, completely separated from the sea. Sawfish can grow to large sizes. The small tooth sawfish, Pristits pectinata averages 15 ft (5 m) in length, and specimens have been found up to 20 ft (6 m) long and weighing 800 lb (360 kg). This species lives in the warm waters of the Atlantic from the Mediterranean to Africa and across the Atlantic Ocean to the coast of Brazil. Another Atlantic species is the large-tooth sawfish, P. perotteti.

Sawfish in the Indo-Pacific Ocean grow to large sizes. Specimens of marine sawfish, P. microdon and P. cuspidatus, have been observed in the rivers of Thailand. Pristis pristis is found far up major rivers in African while P. leichhardit prefers fresh water.

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