Pristis pectinata is a distinctive fish that grows to a length of 5.4 - 7.6 m (18 - 25 feet) (NMFS 2000). They are classified as rays, but are primarily shark-like in appearance, though the head, trunk, and pectoral fins are ventrally flattened as in rays. Pectoral fins have broad bases and straight hind margins (Simpfendorfer 2005).Body form is elongate, with the first and second dorsal fins tall and approximately equal in size. The origin of the first doral fin is set over the origin of the pelvic fins. Both the mouth and gill slits are located ventrally. The snout is elongated into a flattened rostral blade that measures approximately 1/4 of total body length and is armed along either edge with 24 - 32 transverse teeth (NMFS 2000). The caudal fin lacks a well-defined lower lobe. Body color is generally blue-gray to brown, with the ventral surface white. Both jaws have 10 - 12 rows of teeth, with 88-128 teeth in the upper jaw and 84 - 176 in the lower jaw. The teeth are rounded anteriorly and have a blunt cutting posterior edge. The skin has numerous dermal denticles that vary in size and shape (Bigelow and Schroeder 1948; NMFS 2000).
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- Simpfendorfer, C.A. 2000. Predicting population recovery rates for endangered Western Atlantic sawfishes using demographic analysis. EnvironmentalBiology of Fishes. 58:371-377.
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