Sawfish (Pristis).—Karl H. Maslowski

Any of about six species (genus Pristis, family Pristidae) of sharklike ray. Sawfishes have a long head, long body, and a long, toothed, bladelike snout. The largest attain lengths of 23 ft (7 m) or more. These bottom-dwellers inhabit shallow waters of subtropical and tropical bays and estuaries and sometimes swim up rivers. Some live in the freshwaters of Lake Nicaragua. They are not generally dangerous. Their saws are used either to dig out bottom animals or, when lashed about, to kill or maim schooling fishes. Sawfishes are good to eat when small; they are fished in some areas for food, oil, skins, and other products.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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