Home|Search|Identify|Taxonomic tree|Quiz|About this site|Feedback
Developed by ETI BioInformatics
Characteristics, distribution and ecology
Taxonomische classification
Synonyms and common names
Literature references
Images, audio and video
Links to other Web sites

Author: Günther, 1870

Field Marks:
Five pairs of lateral gill slits; rather broad, short sawshark snout 23 or 24% of total length, rostral barbels considerably closer to mouth than rostrum tip, largely lanceolate denticles, two spineless dorsal fins, and no anal fin.

Diagnostic Features:
Rostrum rather short, broad, and abruptly tapering, length of preoral snout 23 or 24% of total length. Bases of rostral barbels about 1.4 to 1.5 times closer to mouth than rostral tip; distance from rostral barbels to nostrils about equal to distance from nostrils to rear corners of mouth. About 13 large rostral teeth on each side of rostrum in front of rostral barbels, 6 behind them. Distance from mouth to nostrils 0.9 times internarial space. Tooth rows 33 to 35 in upper jaw. Dorsal and pectoral fins largely naked in large specimens. Lateral trunk denticles largely unicuspidate. First dorsal origin about opposite free rear tips of pectorals.

Geographical Distribution:
Western South Pacific: Australia (South and Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales).

Habitat and Biology:
A common temperate-subtropical sawshark of the Australian continental shelf, found on or near the bottom at 37 to 165 m depth. Ovoviviparous.

See: Maximum total length at least 122 cm; size at birth about 28 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
Caught with bottom trawls off southern Australia, and used fresh for human consumption.

Local Names:
AUSTRALIA: Southern sawshark.

Pristiophorus owenii was described by Günther (1870) from a 32.! cm newborn specimen without locality (BMNH 1859.9.11.1) in the British Museum (Natural History). This was distinguished from other sawsharks by its equally long rostral teeth (other species have teeth of different sizes). Garman (1913) noted that this species differed from P. cirratus only in its regular-sized teeth, but thought this might be a juvenilecharacteristic. Fowler (B941) synonymized P. owenii with P. cirratus, but Springer and Bullis (1960) resurrected the species. They noted that P. owenii was similar to P. nudipinnis in having a short snout, but distinguished owenii by its rostral teeth. They noted that a juvenile specimen of nudipinnis illustrated by McCulloch (1911) had rostral teeth of varied sizes. However, McCulloch's sawshark and another juvenile nudipinnis of similar size and rostral teeth examined by me in the Australian Museum (Sydney, AMS I 21303-001) are considerably larger (44.5- to 44.6 cm long) than a newborn specimen of apparent nudipinnis (SU 25492, 27.5 cm total length) from Australia which has owenii-like even rostral teeth. Another Australian newborn sawshark (SU 20805, 33.4 cm total length) is apparently P. cirratus, yet has owenii-like sawteeth. All this and Whitley's-(1940, fig. 173, no. 1) illustration of a 30 cm late fetal cirratus with even teeth leads me to believe that such teeth are characteristic of late fetal and newborn sawsharks (as suspected by Garman, 1913). I include P. owenii in synonymy of P. nudipinnis because of its short snout, but consider this tentative because of the absence of locality data for the holotype of owenii.

Type material:
Syntype: In British Museum (Natural History), BMNH 1869.2.24.2, 1040 mm male, probably adult. Type Locality: Tasmania or South Australia.

Shortnose sawshark (Pristiophorus nudipinnis)