Inter-Research > ESR > v39 > p9-23  
Endangered Species Research

via Mailchimp

ESR 39:9-23 (2019)  -  DOI:

Biology, ecology, and status of the smalltooth sawfish Pristis pectinata in the USA

Adam B. Brame1,*, Tonya R. Wiley2, John K. Carlson3, Sonja V. Fordham4, R. Dean Grubbs5, Jason Osborne6, Rachel M. Scharer7, Dana M. Bethea1, Gregg R. Poulakis7

1NOAA Fisheries Service, Southeast Regional Office, St Petersburg, Florida 33701, USA
2Havenworth Coastal Conservation, Palmetto, Florida 34221, USA
3NOAA Fisheries Service, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, Panama City, Florida 32408, USA
4Shark Advocates International, Washington, DC 20036, USA
5Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory, St. Teresa, Florida 32358, USA
6National Park Service, South Florida Natural Resource Center, Homestead, Florida 33034, USA
7Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Charlotte Harbor Field Laboratory, Port Charlotte, Florida 33954, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The smalltooth sawfish Pristis pectinata is threatened with extinction throughout its range and has been designated as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. In the USA, the species historically ranged from Texas to North Carolina, but mortality in fisheries and habitat loss have reduced the range to primarily southwest Florida. The US population was listed as endangered under the US Endangered Species Act in 2003. At that time, data on the biology and ecology of the species were limited. Research and outreach efforts have since expanded, and the quality and quantity of information has increased such that the US population is now one of the most well-studied sawfish populations worldwide. Smalltooth sawfish are born in litters of 7-14 individuals at lengths of 64-81 cm stretched total length (STL), reach maturity in 7-11 yr at approximately 340 cm STL for males and 370 cm STL for females, grow to a maximum size of about 500 cm STL, and live an estimated 30 yr in the wild. Smalltooth sawfish are piscivorous and shift from shallow estuarine waters as small juveniles to a broader array of coastal habitats as large juveniles and adults. The species is physiologically resilient to anthropogenic stressors, but preserving habitat and reducing fishing effects remain priorities. Data synthesized in this review have advanced our understanding of smalltooth sawfish life history and habitat needs, as well as the threats that continue to affect the population. Cumulatively, these data support optimism for recovery of the smalltooth sawfish in the USA and potentially beyond, though recovery will still require decades.

KEY WORDS: Elasmobranch · Pristidae · Age and growth · Population recovery · Conservation · Habitat use · Management

Full text in pdf format
Cite this article as: Brame AB, Wiley TR, Carlson JK, Fordham SV and others (2019) Biology, ecology, and status of the smalltooth sawfish Pristis pectinata in the USA. Endang Species Res 39:9-23.

Export citation
Share:    Facebook - - linkedIn

 Previous article Next article