Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 83, Issue 2, pp 139–145 | Cite as

Life history notes of the critically endangered dwarf sawfish, Pristis clavata, Garman 1906 from the Kimberley region of Western Australia

  • Dean C. Thorburn
  • David L. MorganEmail author
  • Andrew J. Rowland
  • Howard S. Gill
  • Eric Paling


The dwarf sawfish, Pristis clavata, was captured in marine waters of King Sound and estuarine waters of the Fitzroy, May and Robinson Rivers, in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Observations of sexual maturity and annuli present on vertebrae suggest that the estuarine waters of at least the Fitzroy River act as a nursery for the species, where immature individuals may remain for at least 3 years. The capture of immature individuals in excess of 2,330 mm TL during the current study in addition to Peverell’s (Peverell in Environ Biol Fishes 73:391–402, 2005) record of a mature male measuring 3,060 mm TL implies that the species may attain far greater lengths than previously reported and that the common name may not be entirely appropriate. In contrast to the sympatric freshwater sawfish Pristis microdon, the number of rostral teeth of individual P. clavata can not be used to differentiate males from females, with both sexes possessing an average of 42 rostral teeth.


Biology Age and length Diet Conservation Pristidae 



We greatly appreciate the financial support provided by the Natural Heritage Trust, Department of Fisheries Government of Western Australia and Murdoch University. Thanks also to the Kimberly Land Council, the Kimberley Language Resource Centre, Department of Conservation and Land Management and the people of the west Kimberley for helping with the project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dean C. Thorburn
    • 1
  • David L. Morgan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andrew J. Rowland
    • 1
  • Howard S. Gill
    • 1
  • Eric Paling
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Fish and Fisheries ResearchMurdoch UniversityPerthAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Environmental ScienceMurdoch UniversityPerthAustralia

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