The ocean hides several mysterious creatures that never cease to astound and amaze us. Among such denizens of the deep is the Saw shark, scientifically named as Pristiophoriformes is an exceptional member of the elasmobranch family, including sharks or rays. These species live in extreme depth and have a fearsome appearance, rich history, and a unique set of characteristics. In this article, we will explore the world of the saw shark, its physical features, habitat, behavior, and fascinating facts about them, that make them an extraordinary member of the shark family.
What is the Habitat of Saw Shark?
Saw sharks reside in a variety of environments and temperature ranges, making them highly adaptable to diverse oceanic conditions. They are found primarily in almost all the oceans of the world. Most commonly they thrive along the continental shelves and slopes, which provide them a suitable habitat for survival as well as abundant opportunities to hunt. They live at the extreme depth of 200 to 1,800 feet although some species can venture into shallower waters.
What Are the Physical Characteristics of Saw Sharks?
Saw sharks have elongated, slender bodies, which come in a variety of shades of brown, gray, or olives, helping them to camouflage with the oceanic habitats. One notable feature of the Saw shark is the saw-like rostrum, equipped with a series of transverse teeth, that are not meant for chewing but instead, to slice the prey easily. The size of Saw sharks varies greatly, for instance, they reach a maximum length of 2.6 feet, however, some species reach lengths of up to 5.9 feet.
What is the Feeding Behavior of Saw Sharks?
Saw sharks are carnivorous species that prefer cephalopods and small fish in their diet. with the help of rostrum, the Saw shark slashes the schools of fish and injures them before engulfing them. Moreover, the rostrum is equipped with sensory organs that help them detect the electrical signals generated by the prey in water currents.
What is the Reproductive Behavior of Saw Shark?
The reproductive behavior of Saw sharks is poorly understood because they live in extreme depths of the ocean. As ovoviviparous species, saw sharks give birth to offspring rather than depositing eggs. For several months, the mother carries the growing embryo till the end of the gestation period. Once fully developed, the pups born live and become independent to swim and hunt on their own.
What is the Conservation Status of Saw Shark?
Like other species, sharks face various threats in their natural habitat, usually due to habitat degradation and overfishing. These species have been unintentionally caught as bycatch and can be used for trading purposes. Under these circumstances, the IUCN labeled these species as Critically Endangered. However, efforts such as marine reserves and fishing regulations have been made to conserve Saw sharks and protect their habitat, to ensure the long-term survival of these remarkable creatures.
Interesting Facts About Saw Shark
Saw sharks have the following fascinating facts that make them stand out in the marine world:
- Saw sharks belong to an ancient lineage of cartilaginous fish that has been around for millions of years.
- They use the elongated rostrum for hunting and defense rather than for eating.
- Despite their name, saw sharks do not cut or see their prey with their rostrum.
- Saw sharks slash through schools of tiny fish with a side-to-side sweeping motion of their rostrum.
- Female saw sharks typically give birth to 2 to 3 pups.
In the enigmatic world of the ocean, saw sharks are a testament to the diversity and adaptability of marine life. Their fearsome appearance like their rostrum, remarkable feeding and reproductive behavior, make them skilled hunters as well as allow them to survive deep in the oceanic habitat. However, by understanding and appreciating these incredible creatures, we can take measures to live in harmony and more sustainably with the ocean and its creatures.