Scientists Help Rare Sawfish Species Give Birth in the Wild

Image: Facebook

Earlier this week a team of scientists in a protected region of the Bahamas participated in an astounding event — the birth of young sawfish from a rare endangered species.

Sawfish are known as carpenter sharks and have ray-like bodies characterised most prominently by frontal nose extensions lined on both sides by horizontally jutting denticles similar to teeth, attributing to the resemblance to a saw. This anatomical development is called a rostrum, used as both an offensive and defensive mechanism for survival.

All species of sawfish are listed by the IUCN as endangered or critically endangered and reside only in the waters around northern Australia and Florida’s Atlantic coast. Habitat destruction as a result of overfishing and the purposeful killing of these animals for the illegal trade of their rostrum are attributed to the diminishing populations.

Conservation efforts have resulted in the establishment of protected zones for sawfish, including Everglades National Park, the Ten Thousand Island National Wildlife Refuge, and the West Side National Park in the Bahamas. 

Image: Facebook

Florida State University ecologist Dr Dean Grubbs and his team routinely identify and tag sawfish inhabiting the waters of the West Side area. During an expedition just earlier this week, they were tagging a sawfish when they encountered an amazing event — the adult female was in the process of giving birth.

Baby sawfish slip out of the underside of the female’s body rostra-first — the jagged teeth initially coated in a gelatinous substance that protects the mother’s tissues from injury and dissolves within their first week of life. 

The team actively participated in the delivery of five sawfish pups, correspondingly tagging them for identification and future conservation purposes. The mother and pups were then released back into the water.

This event was the first sawfish birth ever encountered in the wild.

The Latest

Bizarre Fish use ‘Fishing Rods’ to Lure Unsuspecting Prey

Bizarre Fish use ‘Fishing Rods’ to Lure Unsuspecting Prey

The hairy frogfish (Antennarius striatus), also known as striated frogfish, is one of the most bizarre creatures in the ocean. Found throughout tropical waters in the world’s oceans, hairy frogfish have a wide...

Fascinating 500-Million-Year-Old Worm Had Legs

Fascinating 500-Million-Year-Old Worm Had Legs

Researchers have recently revealed the physical characteristics of a 500-million-year-old fossil — a worm-like creature with hairy front appendages and hook-like back claws.  Ovatiovermis cribratus was discovered in the Burgess shale and concluded to be a...

Mass Animal Beachings Due to Solar Storms?

Mass Animal Beachings Due to Solar Storms?

The worldwide phenomenon of animal beachings has been loosely attributed to many scientific theories, including solar storms — but this is the first time researchers will collect enough data to officially solve the plaguing mystery. Various...

Zebra Shark Gives ‘Miraculous’ Virgin Birth to Three Live Pups

Zebra Shark Gives ‘Miraculous’ Virgin Birth to Three Live Pups

Scientists recently observed the first ever documented asexual reproduction of a zebra shark  in captivity — a promising occurrence for the IUCN listed endangered species. Zebra sharks naturally inhabit the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific...

Ancient Orcas May Have Existed More Than 2 Million Years Ago

Ancient Orcas May Have Existed More Than 2 Million Years Ago

Image: Wikimedia Commons Today we know orcas as large, ferocious predators who sit at the top of the ocean’s food chain and regularly feed on whales, sharks, dolphins, fish and other sea creatures....

T-rex of the Sea had Skull the Size of a Human

T-rex of the Sea had Skull the Size of a Human

The fossils of an ancient crocodile were discovered in Tunisia — revealing an animal with a 30ft long body and a skull the size of a human.  Researchers were digging for fossils in Tunisia, Africa...

ABOUT US

Roaring Earth brings you thrilling, unique and thought-provoking stories about the natural world. From the wildest places on earth, to extraordinary encounters in our own backyards. Whether shot by a world-renowned filmmaker with the most exclusive camera equipment or by you on your smart phone or trail cam, we are sharing stories that are rarely covered and giving a voice to to the wildlife enthusiast within us all.

The Latest

More Roaring Videos