Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Inhabits sandy or muddy bottoms of shallow coastal waters, estuaries, river mouths, and freshwater rivers and lakes. Usually found in turbid channels of large rivers over soft mud bottoms (Ref. 2847, 44894). Adults usually found in estuaries and young ascend into fresh water. Large adults can also be found in fresh water, but are rarely caught (Ref. 12693). Feeds on benthic animals and small schooling species. Ovoviviparous (Ref. 50449). The saw is used for grubbing and attacking prey as well as for defense. The saws sell as tourist souvenirs (Ref. 7248). Occasionally caught by demersal tangle net and trawl fisheries in the Arafura Sea; possibly extinct in parts of the Indo-Pacific; highly susceptible to gill nets. Utilized for its fins and meat (both of very high value), and skin and cartilage (Ref.58048).
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Distribution

Indo-West Pacific: East Africa to New Guinea, north to the Philippines and Viet Nam, south to Australia. Also Atlantic and eastern Pacific if Pristis perotteti and Pristis zephyreus are synonymized with this species. The original description of Pristis microdon did not give a locality, but most authors have used the name Pristis microdon for the Indo-West Pacific sawfishes of this species group as contrasted from the Atlantic Pristis perotteti and the eastern Pacific Pristis zephyreus.
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Indo-West Pacific (including Madagascar and western Mascarenes, extinct in Réunion): shallow marine areas, often in estuaries and lower parts of rivers.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 0
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Size

Maximum size: 6000 mm NG
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Max. size

700 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 58048)); max. published weight: 600.0 kg (Ref. 3164); max. reported age: 30 years (Ref. 9859)
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Diagnostic Description

Description

Inhabits sandy or muddy bottoms of shallow coastal waters, estuaries, river mouths and in freshwater rivers and lakes. Feeds on benthic animals and small schooling species. The saw is used for grubbing and attacking prey as well as for defence. Ovoviviparous, producing 15-20 embryos. The saws sell as tourist souvenirs (Ref. 7248). Marketed salted.
  • Anon. (1996). FishBase 96 [CD-ROM]. ICLARM: Los Baños, Philippines. 1 cd-rom pp.
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A heavily-bodied sawfish with a short but massive saw which is broad-based, strongly tapering and with 14-22 very large teeth on each side; space between last 2 saw-teeth on sides less than 2 times space between first 2 teeth (Ref. 5578). Pectoral fins high and angular, 1st dorsal fin mostly in front of pelvic fins, and caudal fin with pronounced lower lobe (Ref. 5578). Greenish, grey or golden-brown above, cream below (Ref. 5578).
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Ecology

Habitat

Zambezi River Demersal Habitat

This taxon is one of a number of demersal species in the Zambezi River system of southern Africa. Demersal river fish are found at the river bottom, feeding on benthos and zooplankton

Nutrient levels in the Zambezi River are relatively low, especially in the upper Zambezi; in that reach, above Victoria Falls, most of the catchment drains Kalahari sands, whose nutrient levels are inherently low due to their aeolian formation; moreover, agricultural fertilizer addition throughout the Zambezi watershed is low, due to the shortage of capital available to farmers of this region.

Nitrate levels (as nitrogen) in the upper Zambezi are typically in the range of .01 to .03 milligrams per liter. Correspondingly electrical conductivity of the upper Zambezi is on the order of 75 micro-S per centimeter, due to the paucity of ion content. From the Luangwa River downstream nitrate levels elevate to .10 to .18 milligrams per liter, and electrical conductivity rises to a range of two to four times the upper Zambezi levels. Not surprisingly, pH, calcium ion concentration, bicarbonate and electrical conductivity are all higher in portions of the catchment where limestone soils predominate compared to granite.

There are a total of 190 fish species present in the Zambezi River, including eel and shark taxa. The largest native demersal species present are the 117 centimeter (cm) long tiger fish (Hydrocynus vittatus), the 175 cm African mottled eel (Anguilla bengalensis labiata), the 120 cm Indonesian shortfin eel (Anguilla bicolor bicolor), the 200 cm Giant mottled eel (Anguilla marmorata), the 150 cm African longfin eel (Anguilla mossambica), the 183 cm Sampa (Heterobranchus longifilis), the 150 cm Cornish jack (Mormyrops anguilloides) and the 700 cm largetooth sawfish (Pristis microdon).

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Environment

demersal; amphidromous (Ref. 51243); freshwater; brackish; marine; depth range 0 - 10 m (Ref. 27000)
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Depth range based on 3 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 1 sample.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 85 - 126
  Temperature range (°C): 13.678 - 13.678
  Nitrate (umol/L): 9.812 - 9.812
  Salinity (PPS): 35.148 - 35.148
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.517 - 4.517
  Phosphate (umol/l): 1.020 - 1.020
  Silicate (umol/l): 8.803 - 8.803

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 85 - 126
 
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Depth: 0 - 10m.
Recorded at 10 meters.

Habitat: demersal. Inhabits sandy or muddy bottoms of shallow coastal waters, estuaries, river mouths and freshwater rivers and lakes. Usually found in turbid channels of large rivers over soft mud bottoms (Ref. 2847). Feeds on benthic animals and small schooling species. The saw is used for grubbing and attacking prey as well as for defence. Ovoviviparous, producing 15-20 embryos. The saws sell as tourist souvenirs (Ref. 7248). Marketed salted.
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Migration

Amphidromous. Refers to fishes that regularly migrate between freshwater and the sea (in both directions), but not for the purpose of breeding, as in anadromous and catadromous species. Sub-division of diadromous. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.Characteristic elements in amphidromy are: reproduction in fresh water, passage to sea by newly hatched larvae, a period of feeding and growing at sea usually a few months long, return to fresh water of well-grown juveniles, a further period of feeding and growing in fresh water, followed by reproduction there (Ref. 82692).
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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Ovoviviparous, embryos feed solely on yolk (Ref. 50449). Gestation period about 5 months (Ref. 9859); litter size 1- 13 (Ref. 5578). Probably breeds in freshwater (Ref.58048).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Pristis microdon

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes; price category: medium; price reliability: very questionable: based on ex-vessel price for species in this family
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Wikipedia

Largetooth sawfish

The largetooth sawfish (Pristis microdon), also known as the Leichhardt's sawfish or freshwater sawfish, is a sawfish of the family Pristidae, found in shallow Indo-West Pacific oceans between latitudes 11° N and 39° S. As its relatives, it also enters freshwater. This critically endangered species reaches a length of up to 7 metres (23 ft). Reproduction is ovoviviparous. Recent evidence strongly suggests P. microdon is synonymous with P. pristis.[1]

Taxonomy[edit]

Considerable taxonomic confusion has surrounded this species. It is part of the Pristis pristis species complex, which also includes P. perotteti. P. microdon has sometimes been considered synonymous with P. perotteti, and uncertainty exists over what species the scientific name P. microdon really belong to (the original description lacked a type locality).

Recent evidence strongly suggests the three are conspecific (in which case P. microdon and P. perotteti are synonyms of P. pristis), as morphological and genetic differences are lacking.[1] Three main clades based on NADH-2 genes were evident (Atlantic, Indo-West Pacific, and East Pacific), but these do not match the distributions claimed for P. pristis (circumtropical), P. microdon (Indo-West Pacific) and P. perotteti (Atlantic and East Pacific) respectively.[1]

Species description[edit]

The largetooth sawfish is a heavy-bodied sawfish with a short massive saw which is broad-based, strongly tapering and with 14 to 22 very large teeth on each side - the space between the last two saw-teeth on the sides are less than twice the space between the first two teeth. The pectoral fins are high and angular, the first dorsal fin being mostly in front of the pelvic fins, and the caudal fin has a pronounced lower lobe.

2009 Pristis microdon1.JPG

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Faria, V. V.; McDavitt, M. T.; Charvet, P.; Wiley, T. R.; Simpfendorfer, C. A.; Naylor, G. J. P. (2013). Species delineation and global population structure of Critically Endangered sawfishes (Pristidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 167: 136–164. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2012.00872.x Retrieved 26 August 2013.
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