New species of saw shark – Pristiophorus lanae – Lana’s Sawshark

This isnt really aquarium related but if you are anything like me than you will get excited whenever you see a new sawfish or shark. With this is mind this is perfect. A new Species of sawshark have been discovered and scientifically described. The new species will be known as Pristiophorus lanae and can be found in the western North Pacific.

The new species, Pristiophorus lanae is a slender-bodied five-gilled sawshark that can measure up to 80-85 cm in length. It has been described from seven known specimens. These specimens was caught off Zamboanguita, Apo Island between Negros and Siquijor, and off southern Luzon in Balayan Bay and Ragay Gulf, the Philippine Islands. Only one male have been caught so far.

The new species was described by Dr David Ebert from the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, California Academy of Sciences and the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, and Dr Hana Wilms from the University of California

The proposed name have been choosen to honor shark enthusiast Lana Ebert. Proposed common name is Lana’s Sawshark.

What are Sawsharks?

Sawsharks are sharks that are distinguised from other sharks due to their saw-like snouts and a pair of long barbels. They have two dorsal fins, no anal fin, a short mouth and small teeth in both jaws.

All sawsharks belong to the genera Pliotrema and Pristiophorus.

Their habitat range from Bahamas to the southeastern Atlantic, in the western Indian Ocean from South Africa to southern Mozambique, and in the western Pacific off Japan, the Koreas, China, the Philippines and Australia.

Are Sawfish and Sawshark the same thing?

No. Sawfish and sawsharks often get confused with eachother due to their similar look but are not the same thing.

How to tell Sawfish and Sawsharks apart?

It is very easy to know whether you are looking at a sawshark or a sawfish. You can do this even without a closer inspection by looking at the positioning of the gills:

  • Saw sharks have their gills on the side of their head like other sharks.
  • Sawfish have their gills underneath the body/snout

You can also tell them apart due to the fact that sawfish dont have barbels.

Read the full publication:
Ebert DA & Wilms HA. 2013. Pristiophorus lanae sp. nov., a new sawshark species from the Western North Pacific, with comments on the genus Pristiophorus Müller & Henle, 1837 (Chondrichthyes: Pristiophoridae). Zootaxa 3752 (1): 086–100

Image credit: David Ebert

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