Sawfish are characterized by both their stingray-like bodies and their long nose extensions, which are lined with jagged teeth-like denticles on either side like a saw. Over time, this strange anatomical feature has evolved to help the sawfish ward off predators.
Despite having a fighting mechanism strapped to its face, this animal still finds itself on the endangered species list. That’s what makes seeing one in the wild so amazing.
So when a group of marine scientists were tagging sawfish in the Bahamas recently, they were shocked to find one in particular that was in desperate need of help…
Sawfish are well-known for their prominent nose extensions that resemble a saw protruding from their face. As fascinating as these marine mammals are, they’ve found themselves listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as endangered or critically endangered.
Sawfish are largely endangered due to overfishing and poaching for their rostrums (noses). This has lead conservation organizations to fight to designate numerous protected zones around the world.
Sawfish can be found off Florida’s Atlantic coast and in northern Australia. The protected zones include Ten Thousand Island National Wildlife Refuge and Everglades National Park, both in Florida, as well as the West Side National Park in the Bahamas.
Dr. Dean Grubbs, an ecologist at Florida State University, spends a good deal of time studying and tagging sawfish with his research group in order to gain insight about these elusive animals. On a recent expedition, however, they stumbled upon a sawfish that appeared to be different than others…
While Dr. Grubbs and his team were tagging the sawfish off the island of Andros in the Bahamas, they noticed that one of the rare animals appeared to be pregnant. Not only that, but it looked as if she was going to give birth in what seemed like a matter of seconds…
Whenever an adult female sawfish gives birth, her babies appear from the underside of her belly nose-first. While this may seem potentially hazardous to the mother, the rostrum is usually coated in a gelatinous substance that protects her from being harmed.
The team realized that a sawfish birth had never been captured on video. They immediately gathered their filming equipment as they began to assist the expectant sawfish in delivering her pups…
Amazingly, Dr. Grubbs and his team were able to capture the entire birth—a historic moment—on video. Just look at those adorable babies!
That’s simply incredible! To think that this was the first sawfish birth ever captured on video makes it all the more special. The team collected samples and tagged all of the animals, so they advanced their researched, too!
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