Tropical Sawshark, Pristiophorus delicatus Yearsley, Last & White 2008

The female holotype of the Tropical Sawshark, Pristiophorus delicatus - CSIRO H 931–01, 698 mm TL. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: All rights reserved


A small rare pale to medium yellowish-brown sawshark becoming white below, with a long slender rostrum tapering only slightly towards the tip, and the nostrils positioned about one-third the distance from the corner of the mouth to the barbel attachment on the rostrum.

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Dianne J. Bray, Pristiophorus delicatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 28 Sep 2023,

Tropical Sawshark, Pristiophorus delicatus Yearsley, Last & White 2008

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Endemic to tropical waters of the continental slope offshore from northeastern Australia, between Rockhampton and Cairns, Queensland, in depths of 245-405 m. 


A small sawshark with the following characters: nostril to barbel origin 3.2-3.7 times mouth to nostril; prenasal length 1.7-1.8 times the prebarbel length; preoral length 2.1-2.4 times the interdorsal space; pectoral anterior margin 1.2-1.5 times the dorsal-caudal space; dorsal caudal margin 4.4-5.0 times caudal fin depth; width of mouth 2.7-3.7 times the length spiracle; 49-55 monospondylous centra; 50-54 precaudal diplospondylous centra; 149-156 total vertebral centra.


The biology of the Tropical Sawshark is mostly unknown, as very few specimens have been collected. All sawsharks are aplacental viviparous (ovoviparous), with the embryos feeding solely on yolk. Males mature at about 62 cm TL.


  • IUCN Red List: Least Concern
  • Etymology

    The specific name is from the Latin delicatus (dainty, delicate) in reference to the fine, delicate rostral teeth on the elongated rostrum of this small species of sawshark.

    Species Citation

    Pristiophorus delicatus Yearsley, Last & White, 2008, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Paper 022: 25, figs 1-2. Type locality: south of Saumarez Reef, QLD, 22°59'S, 152°59'E. 


    Dianne J. Bray


    Australian Faunal Directory

    Tropical Sawshark, Pristiophorus delicatus Yearsley, Last & White 2008


    Compagno, L.J.V. 1998. Family Pristiophoridae. 1233 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 2 687-1396 pp. (as Pristiophorus sp. B)

    Compagno, L.J.V., Dando, M. & Fowler, S. 2005. A Field Guide to the Sharks of the World. London : Collins 368 pp. (as Pristiophorus sp. B)

    Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Canberra : CSIRO Australia 513 pp. 84 pls. (as Pristiophorus sp. B)

    Heupel, M.R. (SSG Australia & Oceania Regional Workshop, March 2003) 2003. Pristiophorus delicatus. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. . Downloaded on 12 September 2012.

    Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Collingwood : CSIRO Publishing Australia 2, 550 pp.

    Yearsley, G.K., Last, P.R. & White, W.T. 2008. A new species of sawshark, Pristiophorus delicatus sp. nov. (Pristiophoriformes: Pristiophoridae), from northeastern Australia. 23-34 in Last, P.R., White, W.T. & Pogonoski, J.J. (eds). Descriptions of new Australian chondrichthyans. CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Paper No. 022: 1-358.

    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37023002

    Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

    Depth:245-405 m

    Habitat:Continental slope


    Max Size:84 cm TL

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