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Shark of the Month
August 2021

Japanese Saw


Saw Shark

Pristiophorus japonicus

Quick Facts:

  • The Japanese Saw Shark has a long, flat snout with roughly 25-45 serrated teeth on either side. There are two whisker-like barbels in the middle of the snout, giving the sawshark the appearance of having a long, thin moustache.

  • The long snout is 20% of the body’s entire length.

  • These sharks have an average of 12 live pups per litter.

  • Little information is available about its populations because of how common these sharks are across its range. Because of this, the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List categorizes the Japanese Saw Shark as "Data Deficient".

  • The sawshark uses these barbels, along with electro-receptors located on the underside of its saw (Ampullae of Lorenzini) to help find prey buried in the sand.

  • This sawshark is often mistaken for the sawfish. Sawfish do not have barbels. The teeth of a sawfish are located on its snout are all evenly sized, whereas the teeth of a sawshark fluctuate from large to small to large. In addition, the sawshark has gills on the side of its head, while the gills of a sawfish are located on the underside.

  • The main predator of the Japanese Sawfish are humans, with its meat being a delicacy in Japan and found as an ingredient in a fish cake known as kamaboko.

Location: Lives in temperate areas along continental shelves and coastal waters. Mainly found in the northwest Pacific distributed throughout Japan, off northern China from the East China Sea, the Yellow Sea, Bohai Sea, and southwest of Korea.

Length: Up to 1.5 meters (5 feet).

Age span: 15 years in the wild.

Weight:  N/A.

Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Diet: Small fish such as fish, squid, shrimp and other crustaceans.

Previous Sharks of the Month


July 2021




June 2021




May 2021

Australian Ghost



April 2021

Brown-banded Bamboo Shark


March 2021

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark



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