v. 2.1 – 6 Feb. 2016  view/download PDF

Family PRISTIDAE Sawfishes
2 genera • 7 species

Anoxypristis White & Moy-Thomas 1941    oxys, sharp; pristis, saw, referring to blade-like teeth of saw-like rostrum (originally named Oxypristis by Hoffman in 1912, but that name is preoccupied in insects; the prefix an-, not, was added to avoid homonymny)

Anoxypristis cuspidata (Latham 1794)    pointed, referring to rostral spines “shaped at the point more like the lancet used by surgeons in bleeding” [italics in original]

Pristis Linck 1790    tautonymous with Squalus pristis; saw, referring to elongated saw-like snout

Pristis clavata Garman 1906    club-shaped, allusion not explained nor evident

Pristis microdon Latham 1794    micro-, small; odon, tooth, referring to how spines (teeth) “do not stand out from the sides more than a quarter of an inch, and … seem far less capable of doing injury than any other species [of sawfish] yet known”

Pristis pectinata Latham 1794    comb-toothed, presumably referring to small, comb-like teeth, smaller than other sawfishes

Pristis perotteti Müller & Henle 1841    in honor of explorer and botanist Georges Samuel Perrottet (1793-1870, note variant spelling), who presumably furnished or collected type (a dried specimen at the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris)

Pristis pristis (Linnaeus 1758)    saw, referring to elongated saw-like snout (historical name for sawfishes, dating to at least Aristotle)

Pristis zijsron Bleeker 1851    etymology not explained; possibly a variant of zysron, meaning unknown but perhaps a Malay word meaning “slender” since Bleeker (who lived in the East Indies for nearly 20 years) used the name for the elongate Slender Threadfin Bream (Nemipteridae: Nemipterus zysron) and this sawfish is distinguished by its long and slender rostrum