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

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2024, Pristiophorus delicatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 26 May 2024,

Tropical Sawshark, Pristiophorus delicatus Yearsley, Last & White 2008

More Info


Endemic to the Coral Sea off Swains Reefs to south of Saumarez Reef off Rockhampton, Queensland, at depths of 176-405 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. 


Rarely taken as bycatch in the Queensland East Coast Trawl Fishery, due to the low fishing effort in the area where this species is known to occur.


  • 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 sawshark species.

    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. 


    Bray, D.J. 2024


    Atlas of Living Australia

    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)

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

    Rigby, C.L. & Heupel, M.R. 2015. Pristiophorus delicatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T42720A68641067. Accessed on 06 February 2024.

    Rigby, C.L., White, W.T. & Simpfendorfer, C.A. 2016. Deepwater Chondrichthyan Bycatch of the Eastern King Prawn Fishery in the Southern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. PLoS ONE 11(5): e0156036.

    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:176-405 m

    Habitat:Continental slope


    Max Size:95 cm TL

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