Green Sawfish, Pristis zijsron Bleeker 1851

Other Names: Dindagubba, Green Saw-fish, Longcomb Sawfish, Narrowsnout Sawfish, Narrow-snouted Sawfish

A Green Sawfish, Pristis zijsron, in the Sydney Sea Life Aquarium. Source: Giverny / iNaturalist. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial


This large robust sawfish is critically endangered globally.

  • Gill openings on the underside
  • Teeth unevenly-spaced, commencing near base of rostrum: 24-28 pairs
  • Origin of dorsal fin slightly behind pelvic fin origin 
  • Lower lobe of caudal fin very short
  • Greenish-brown above, underside white; fins may be slightly paler.
  • Green Sawfish at Onslow, Western Australia
  • A Green Sawfish (aka Long Comb Sawfish) on a stereo-BRUV in the Pilbara region of Western Australia
  • Video of a Green Sawfish in the Denver Aquarium.
  • A Green Sawfish in the Ocean Voyager Gallery at the Georgia Aquarium, USA.

  • Cite this page as:
    Bray, D.J. 2017, Pristis zijsron in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Apr 2024,

    Green Sawfish, Pristis zijsron Bleeker 1851

    More Info


    Widespread across northern Australia, from about Eighty Mile Beach, Western Australia, to the Cairns region, Queensland. Historically, individuals were taken as far south as Sydney, New South Wales. Elsewhere, the species occurs in the tropical Indo-west Pacific. Historically, the species was widespread in the Indo-West Pacific from southern Africa to Australia and Taiwan, including the Red Sea, Persian (Arabian) Gulf and some of the Indian Ocean islands. 

    Green Sawfish inhabit coastal marine and estuarine waters, with adults more common offshore in depths to >70 metres. Significant pupping grounds have been identified in the southern Pilbara region of Western Australia.


    Feeds mostly on bony fishes and crustaceans, stunning and killing their prey with the saw-like rostrum.


    The life history of the Green Sawfish is poorly known.


    Populations have historically been affected by inshore commercial net and trawl fisheries throughout most of the distribution range, resulting in population declines.


  • EPBC Act 1999 : Vulnerable
  • IUCN Red List : Critically Endangered
  • NSW Fisheries Management Act 1994: Endangered
  • CITES Listed : Appendix I
  • Throughout its range, the Green Sawfish has historically been targeted or taken as incidental bycatch in commercial and recreational fisheries. The rostrum with the large teeth is easily entangled in nets, including in shark control nets. Captured sawfish are retained in many parts of the world due to the high value of their fins, rostrum and meat. Green Sawfish are fully protected in Australia.
  • Author

    Bray, D.J. 2017

    Green Sawfish, Pristis zijsron Bleeker 1851


  • Allen, G.R. 1982. A Field Guide to Inland Fishes of Western Australia. Western Australian Museum, Perth, Western Australia
  • Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls.
  • Bradney, D.R., Davidson, A., Evans, S.P., Wueringer, B.E., Morgan, D.L. and Clausen, P.D. (2017) Sawfishes stealth revealed using computational fluid dynamics. Journal of Fish Biology 90(4): 1584-1596. Abstract
  • Bleeker, P. 1851. Vijfde bijdrage tot de kennis der ichthyologische fauna van Borneo, met beschrijving van eenige nieuwe soorten van zoetwatervisschen. Natuurwetenschappelijk Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indie Natuurwet 2: 415-442
  • Compagno, L.J.V. & Cook, S.F. 1995. The exploitation and conservation of freshwater elasmobranchs: status of taxa and prospects for the future. The biology of Freshwater elasmobranchs. The Journal of Aquariculture and Aquatic Science. 7: 62–90
  • Compagno, L.J.V. & Cook, S.F. 2005. Order Pristiformes, sawfishes. In: S.L. Fowler, M. Camhi, G.H. Burgess, G.M. Cailliet, S.V. Fordham, R.D. Cavanagh, C.A. Simpfendorfer, and J.A. Musick (eds) Sharks, rays and chimaeras: the status of the chondrichthyan fishes. IUCN SSC, Cambridge, UK and Gland, Switzerland
  • Compagno, L.J.V., Cook, S.F. & Oetinger, M.I. 2006. Pristis zijsron. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <>. Downloaded on 02 September 2012.
  • Compagno, L.J.V. & Last, P.R. 1999. Families Pristidae, Rhinidae, Rhinobatidae, Platyrhinidae. pp. 1410-1432 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. 3 1397-2068.
  • Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI). 2010. A Guide to Releasing Sawfish. Gulf of Carpentaria Inshore and Offshore Set Net Fishery. The State of Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Brisbane. pp. (as Pristis microdon)
  • Dulvy, N.K., Davidson, L.N.K., Kyne, P.M., Simpfendorfer, C.A., Harrison, L.R., Carlson, J.K. & Fordham, S.V. 2016. Ghosts of the coast: global extinction risk and conservation of sawfishes. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 26: 134-153. DOI: 10.1002/aqc.2525 Open access
  • Faria VV, McDavitt MT, Charvet P, Wiley TR, Simpfendorfer CA and Naylor GJP (2012) Species delineation and global population structure of Critically Endangered sawfishes (Pristidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 167: 136–164. pdf
  • Field, I.C., Charters, R., Buckworth, R.C., Meekan, M.G. and Bradshaw, C.J.A. 2008. Distribution and Abundance of Glyphis and Sawfishes in Northern Australia and their Potential Interactions with Commercial Fisheries. Final Report. Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.
  • Fowler, S.L., Cavanagh, R.D., Camhi, M., Burgess, G.H., Cailliet, G.M., Fordham, S.V., Simpfendorfer, C.A. & Musick, J.A. (comps and eds). 2005. Sharks, Rays and Chimaeras: The Status of the Chondrichthyan Fishes. Status Survey. pp. x + 461. IUCN/SSC Shark Specialist Group, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK
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  • Grant, E.M. 2002. Guide to Fishes. Redcliffe : EM Grant Pty Ltd 880 pp.
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  • Morgan, D.L, M.G. Allen, B.C. Ebner, J.M. Whitty & S.J. Beatty. 2015. Discovery of a pupping site and nursery for critically endangered green sawfish Pristis zijsron. Journal of Fish Biology 86(5): 1658–1663, Abstract
  • Morgan, D.L., J.M. Whitty, N.M. Phillips, D.C. Thorburn, J.A. Chaplin & R. McAuley. 2011. North-western Australia as a hotspot for endangered elasmobranchs with particular reference to sawfishes and the Northern River Shark. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 94: 345–358.
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  • Stevens, J.D., Pillans, R.D. & Salini, J. 2005. Conservation assessment of Glyphis sp. A (speartooth shark), Glyphis sp. C (northern river shark), Pristis microdon (freshwater sawfish) and Pristis zijsron (green sawfish). Version 2. Final Report for the Department of the Environment and Heritage.
  • Stobutski, I., Blaber, S., Brewer, D., Fry, G., Heales, D., Jones, P., Miller, M., Milton, D., Salini, J., van der Velde, T., Wang, Y-G., Wassenberg, T., Dredge, M., Courtney, A., Chilcott, K. and Eayrs, S. 2000. Ecological Sustainability of Bycatch and Biodiversity in Prawn Trawl Fisheries. Final report to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation. Report No. 96/257 
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  • Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37025001

    Conservation:IUCN Critically Endangered; EPBC Act Vulnerable

    Depth:0-70 m

    Habitat:Coastal marine. estuarine

    Max Size:730 cm TL

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