Pristis pristis

(LINNAEUS, 1758)

Common sawfish
Classification: Elasmobranchii Rhinopristiformes Pristidae

Reference of the original description
LINNÉ, C. (1758)
Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, regnum animale, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus differentiis synonymis, locis. Ed. X., 1: 824 p. Stockholm (L. SALVIUS).

Image of the original description
No image in first description.

Synonyms / new combinations and misspellings
Pristis aff. perotteti, Pristis antiquorum, Pristis canaliculata, Pristis caniculata, Pristis microdon, Pristis peroteti, Pristis perotteti, Pristis perottetii, Pristis perrotteti, Pristis typica, Pristis zephyreus, Squalus pristis

Pristis pristis

Pristis microdon
Holotype: Museum Parkinson: whereabouts unknown;
Pristis perotteti
Holotype: MNHN: lost
Pristis zephyreus
Holotype: SU: 12670

Description :

Citation: Pristis pristis (LINNAEUS, 1758): In: Database of modern sharks, rays and chimaeras,, World Wide Web electronic publication, Version 09/2019

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Pristis pristis (LINNAEUS, 1758), © David Morgan, Freshwater Fish Group & Fish Health Unit, School of Veterinary & Life Sciences, Murdoch, Australia
Common names
deu \(T\) Sägefisch, spa Pejepeine, spa Pejesierra, spa Pez sierra, spa Pez sierra commún, spa Pez sierra común, spa Sägefisch, fra \(T\) Poisson-scie commun, fra \(T\) Scie, fra \(T\) Scie commune, eng Common sawfish, eng Largetooth sawfish, eng Sawfish, eng Small-toothed sawfish, ita Pesce sega, por Araguaguá, por Espadarte, por Espadarte-serra, por Peixe-serra, por Tubarão-serra, Sija (malta)

Short Description
Snout extremely elongated into a broad, firm and heavy saw-like rostral extension with 15 to 20 pairs of transverse, strong lateral teeth; this “saw” about a quarter of total length. Shark-like appearance, with long, massive tail section bearing two large, distinctly separated dorsal fins of equal size and a large, oval caudal fin without marked lower lobe; origin of first dorsal fin somewhat anterior to pelvic–fin origin; pectoral fins not much enlarged, their origin fused to posterior part of head and well behind level of mouth. Gill slits on underside of head. Nostrils separated from and well anterior of straight mouth. Colour: plain ochre-greyish on back and sides, underside whitish. [17836]

Western Pacific: northern Australia, from Western Australia to Queensland (Ref. 7300). Eastern Pacific: Gulf of California to Ecuador. Western Atlantic: Florida and Louisiana, USA to Brazil [17658]. Eastern Atlantic: Portugal to Angola, including the western Mediterranean. Source:

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

Ovoviviparous, embryos feed solely on yolk [733]. Inhabits inshore coastal waters to moderate depth, also around offlying islands. Found also in estuaries, lagoons, river mouths, and even freshwater. Feeds on fishes and bottom-living animals. Ovoviviparous. Freshwater populations occur to about 750 km up Amazon River; populations in Lake Nicaragua may be nonmigratory [17658]

Size / Weight / Age
TL (max): 656 cm, but possible over 700 cm, TL (mature): ~280 cm - 300 cm; TL (born): 72 cm - 90 cm [24867]; max. reported age: 30 years [17661]

demersal; oceanodromous [17660]; freshwater; brackish; marine; depth range 0 - 25 m [24867]

shark-references Species-ID=5083;

Parasites (arranged by Jürgen Pollerspöck)
  • Dermopristis paradoxus KEARN, WHITTINGTON & EVANS-GOWING, 2010 [15240]
  • Erpocotyle caribbensis WATSON & THORSON, 1976 [16440]
  • Nonacotyle pristis OGAWA, 1991 [7239]
  • Pristonchocotyle intermedia WATSON & THORSON, 1976 [16440]
  • Pristonchocotyle papuensis OGAWA, 1991 [7239]

  • Terranova circularis (LINSTOW , 1907) [17029]
  • Terranova pristis (BAYLIS & DAUBNEY, 1922) [17029]

  • Caligus furcisetifer REDKAR, RANGNEKAR & MURTI, 1949 [16612]
  • Ergasilus sp. [7239]