The Bahamas sawshark is a unique shark. It has a long snout that’s edged with teeth, like a saw. This might remind you of another fish that has a similar snout – the sawfish. The sawshark and the sawfish are two different types of fish, but they are often confused with each other. The sawshark is light brown, while the sawfish is light blue. Sawsharks are sharks, while sawfish are rays. Another difference between them is the two long barbells that hang out in the middle of the sawshark’s snout. Sawfishes don’t have the two barbells.
The sawshark’s body is slender and can reach up to approximately three feet in length. The snout makes up 31 to 32% of their total length. Their saw-like snout is flat and has around 13 to 14 pointed teeth that grow out on each side. The actual mouth only has tiny teeth to eat its prey with.
The saw-like snout is very important to the sawshark because it’s used to slash, shred, and disable their prey. And then they feed with their small mouths and tiny teeth. They love to eat small fish, squid, crustaceans, and mollusks. Sawsharks hunt for prey by swimming close to the bottom of the ocean and using their barbells that drag across the sand. The barbells help them feel for food on the bottom.
Another way that the sawshark finds its prey is through the use of its amullae of Lorenzini. The amullae of Lorenzini are organs that are electroreceptors, which means they can sense electricity in the water and perform electrolocation. This helps the sawshark to able to find unseen things and prey underneath the sand. The organs of the amullae of Lorenzini are clustered together in jelly-filled canals in the snout of the sawshark.
Humans don’t need to fear this shark; sawsharks are generally thought to be harmless. However, they can and will strike if their snout is touched or handled in any way.
There are actually nine different sawshark species and the Bahamas sawshark is one of them. Other kinds of sawshark include the Japanese sawshark and the longnose sawshark.
As the name implies, the Bahamas sawshark is found in the waters around the Bahamas as well as Cuba and Florida. This area is called the Western Central Atlantic. Bahamas sawsharks are considered a deep-water and tropical shark. They swim along the continental and insular slopes of the Bahamas region.
There are still a lot of things that scientists don’t know about the Bahamas sawshark. How they reproduce is unknown (it is guessed that they are ovoviviparous, which means they lay eggs, not live pups). Their life span is unclear and their social behavior has yet to be researched. Other than swimming close to the bottom, their swimming methods are generally not reported and their population report is not documented. The Bahamas sawshark is only found in a specific and narrow location, so this might have contributed to the lack of research on this species.