Bahamas sawshark - Pristiophorus schroederi


Illustration © Marc Dando

Sawsharks have a long and flat saw-like rostrum studded with teeth. They are small slender sharks with flattened heads and a pair or barbels beneath the rostrum. They are found only on continental and insular shelves of the northwest and southeast Atlantic, west Indian and west Pacific Ocean, in shallow water in temperate regions, deeper in the tropics. These sharks are ovoviviparous (aplacental viviparous) with litters averaging 7 to 17 pups. Sawsharks are often confused with sawfishes which are batoids (rays).

A slender shark with a very long, narrow, tapering rostrum (preoral length about 31-32% of the shark’s total length) with barbels halfway between the mouth and rostral tip, and a concave, pre-barbel edge.


Uniform, un-patterned light grey above and whitish below. It has darker brownish stripes along its rostrum midline and edges. Its pectoral fins are light-edged and the dorsal fins of juveniles have a dark anterior edge.


To 2.7 ft [81 cm] or more.


On or near the bottom of continental and insular slopes, between 1437 to 3123.4 ft [438 to 952 m] deep.


Northwest Atlantic between Florida, Cuba and the Bahamas.


The shark has 23 large, lateral sawteeth, 13 before and 10 behind the barbels. Juveniles usually have one smaller tooth between its large lateral teeth.



Likely bycatch of deepwater fisheries. In response to urging by the United Nations General Assembly, Mexico was one of only a few shark-catching nations that adopted a “National Action Plan for Shark Conservation,” and assessed the Bahamas sawshark as being endangered or threatened and in need of protection.