Two Gigantic Sawfish Washed Up Dead In Florida Keys

A shark in the water

Sawfish are one of the most absurd-looking creatures in the deep blue sea. They look like a swordfish got ran over with a steam roller and then procreated with a hedge trimmer.

The saw protruding from their skulls is known as a rostrum, and it’s typically about 1/3rd the length of the entire body. Their saws are used to sift through the sand on the ocean floor and break prey down into consumable-sized chunks.

There are 5 different subspecies of sawfish, with the smalltooth version being the only one to inhabit the ocean waters surrounding the state of Florida.

They are critically endangered and extremely rare, which makes it even more unfortunate that two absolute whoppers recently washed up dead onshore in the Florida keys. It’s believed that fewer than 5,000 of them still exist in the wild.

Though the species is rumored to reach lengths of 18- 20 feet, the 16-footer that washed up on the beach is the longest specimen ever recorded by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission scientists since research on the species began.

“Biologists responded to sawfish hotline reports of two large smalltooth sawfish that died in the Florida Keys this week. One was a mature 16-foot female that weighed an estimated 800-1000 pounds and the other was an immature female 12 feet, 4 inches long, and weighed an estimated 400-500 pounds.

The 16-foot sawfish (pictured) is the longest measured by scientists since research began on the species.

There was no obvious cause of death for either sawfish; however, valuable life history information was and will continue to be collected from both carcasses.”

Gnarly.

FWC sawfish biologists responded to sawfish hotline reports of two large smalltooth sawfish that died in the Florida…

Posted by FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute on Thursday, April 8, 2021

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