Pristis pristis (Linnaeus, 1758), pristis (Linnaeus, 1758

Jones, Christian M., Driggers Iii, William B., Hannan, Kristin M., Hoffmayer, Eric R., Jones, Lisa M. & Raredon, Sandra J., 2020, An annotated checklist of the chondrichthyan fishes inhabiting the northern Gulf of Mexico Part 1: Batoidea, Zootaxa 4803 (2), pp. 281-315: 284

publication ID

publication LSID

persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Pristis pristis (Linnaeus, 1758)


Pristis pristis (Linnaeus, 1758)   —largetooth sawfish


Pristis antiquorum Latham, 1794  

Pristis canaliculata Bloch & Schneider, 1801  

Pristis microdon Latham, 1794  

Pristis perotteti Valenciennes, 1841  

Pristis typica Poey, 1861  

Pristis zephyreus Jordan and Starks, 1895  

Pristiopsis leichhardti Whitley, 1945  

Squalus pristis Linnaeus, 1758  

Distribution. This species has predominantly been reported from Texas waters with a few individuals from coastal waters of Louisiana and Florida. The waters of the southeastern U.S. are on the northern periphery of the natural range of this species and individuals captured historically in the waters of the northern GOM, predominantly off Texas, were likely transient individuals utilizing these waters during warmer months of the year. However, there are no recent records of this species from the northern GOM, indicating it may have been extirpated from the region ( Burgess et al. 2009).

First Record in GOM. A rostrum collected prior to 1878 and deposited in the Ichthyology Collection at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia (ANSP 17388; listed as P. antiquorum   but verified as P. pristis   ) is the first verified record of this species in the GOM ( Burgess et al. 2009), although it is not clear where in the GOM the specimen originated. Many previous records of sawfish originating from the Texas coast could refer to this species as it has been suggested that the ratio of P. pristis   to P. pectinata   in the area was historically around 1:1, but none of these records could be verified ( Burgess et al. 2009). The mention of this species (as P. perrotteti   ) by Gunter (1941) as “probably” occurring off the Texas coast is likely the earliest in the scientific literature ( Baughman 1943 confirmed Gunter’s assertion two years later) although Burgess et al. (2009) list several records starting in 1917 based on images published in the popular press or included in personal correspondences.

Remarks. A recent revision of the sawfish family ( Faria et al. 2013) has indicated the three species generally considered to comprise the largetooth sawfish group are actually a single globally distributed species. Like its congener P. pectinata   , P. pristis   has a long and convoluted taxonomic history complicated by frequent misidentification, much of which is condensed and summarized by Faria et al. (2013).

Conservation Status. Critically Endangered, listed as Endangered under the United States Endangered Species Act.