Boschung, Herbert T. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Last reviewed:April 2020
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An order of sharks commonly known as sawsharks. Sawsharks (see illustration) are members of the order Pristiophoriformes. Comprising one family (Pristiophoridae) and two genera (Pliotrema and Pristiophorus), sawsharks are superficially similar to sawfishes, which are rays, but are distinguishable from all other elasmobranchs (sharks, skates, and rays) by the following combination of characters: snout shaped as a long flat blade bearing alternate large and small teeth on each side that are weakly embedded and periodically replaced; one pair of long barbels on the underside of the blade; no visible dorsal fin spines; absence of an anal fin; large spiracles; and ovoviviparous, with embryos feeding solely on yolk. See also: Elasmobranchii; Pristiformes; Selachii
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