Pristiophoriformes – Sawsharks

Nature’s sawmasters, these sharks slice through the water with finesse and a snout like no other

A group of unique and captivating creatures distinguished by their long, flat snouts adorned with sharp teeth on both sides. Their name derives from their extraordinary hunting technique, akin to wielding a saw, as they use their snouts to slash and incapacitate their prey. This distinctive feature sets them apart from most other shark species.

Saw sharks boast a streamlined body design characterized by two dorsal fins, an anal fin, and five-gill slits. Adding to their remarkable sensory capabilities, they possess a pair of extended whiskers near their nose, which aid in detecting food in their aquatic realm. Despite these sensory enhancements, saw sharks have relatively small eyes and lack the additional eyelids found in some other shark species to protect their vision.

What truly distinguishes saw sharks is their method of propulsion. Unlike many sharks, which rely primarily on their caudal (tail) fins for movement, saw sharks employ their pectoral fins to glide gracefully through the ocean. These sizable, elegantly shaped fins grant them exceptional maneuverability, allowing them to navigate their environment with precision and agility.

Saw sharks also possess an extraordinary adaptation in their long snouts, known as rostrums, which they use for slashing prey and sensing their surroundings. These rostrums are equipped with specialized electroreceptor organs called ampullae of Lorenzini. This electroreceptive ability allows saw sharks to detect weak electrical signals emitted by potential prey, making them highly efficient hunters, especially in low visibility conditions. They can precisely locate and track prey by perceiving these signals, granting them a distinct advantage in their aquatic environments. The rostrum serves as both a weapon and a sensory apparatus, making saw sharks fascinating apex predators with unique adaptations for hunting and survival.