If there’s a swordfish, which takes after its sword-like characteristic, there’s also a sawfish, which takes after its – you guessed it – saw-like characteristic.
Ladies and gentlemen, here are facts about sawfish you don’t want to miss:
- Sawfishes are also known as carpenter sharks.
- They come from a family of rays called Pristidae.
- The Pristidae is the only existing family under the biological order Pristiformes. The name itself comes from Ancient Greek word “pristes,” which means “sawyer.”
- Sawsharks also exist, but comes from a different biological order called Pristiophoriformes.
- Currently, there are seven known sawfish species. However, all are now considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
- They are usually – and previously – found in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
- Smalltooth sawfishes were once distributed rampantly. Sadly, the species’ range has significantly reduced at 90% and its population has reduced to presumably 95% or more.
- Thus, capturing sawfishes is now illegal in the United States and Australia. As of 2007, importing any kind of sawfish is also deemed illegal.
- Sawfishes have saw-like rostrums, which are both used for stunning and slashing a prey.
- Their saw-like teeth are not really teeth, however, but rather denticles or modified tooth-like structures.
- Sawfishes are known to spend most of their time just lying on the seafloor.
- They are also known to be lethargic, unless a prey passes them, in which they suddenly come up from the sea floor – stunning and slashing it with their rostrums.
- They are known to be nocturnal as well.
- They are only estimated to mate once in every two years and only produces up to eight litters.
- A sawfish is found on coins and banknotes of the CFA franc. It was believed to represent fecundity and prosperity.
- A sawfish is also found on the Battle Badge of Small Combat Units during World War II in Germany.
- Aztecs believed that sawfishes were earth monsters.
- Asian shamans used the rostrums of sawfishes for exorcisms and other rituals to fight off demonic possessions and unknown diseases.
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In conclusion, sawfishes are truly remarkable. But sadly, they are now considered critically endangered. One lesson there is to learn about sawfishes is that, they are just like any one of us – breathing life and just trying to make a mark in the world with their uniqueness. Thus, every one of us has the responsibility to protect this kind of uniqueness.