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April Elasmobranch of the Month: Lana's Sawshark

Lana’s Sawshark

(Pristiophorus lanae)

Key Features/Appearance

The Lana’s sawshark (AKA the Philippine sawshark) is a small species, commonly reaching lengths of 66.9 cm (2 feet). Like all sawsharks they have a rostrum (snout) with teeth extending out on both sides, resembling a saw blade. This specific species’ rostrum is long, narrow, and slightly tapered. A barbel extends from each side of the rostrum and is located closer to the mouth. The rostrum holds 21 large teeth with 2 to 3 smaller teeth in between the larger ones. 7 to 8 teeth are located between and nostrils and barbels with 13-14 located in front of the barbels. This 5-gilled shark is uniformly colored dark brown on the top and sides with whiteish coloration underneath. Their relatively small pectoral fins are triangular and slightly rounded. Their two dorsal fins are essentially the same size. ( This species was discovered and named by Dr. Dave Ebert).

Habitat and Distribution

The Lana’s sawshark occurs in the Western Central Pacific Ocean in the Philippines off Apo Island and southern Luzon. They reside at depths between 230 - 590 m (755-1,936 feet).


Specifics about the Lana’s sawshark diet is not known. It is presumed they prey on items similar to other sawsharks which include small fish, crustaceans and squid.


Little is known about how this shark species reproduces. It is believed they use the ovoviviparous method, where embryos develop in eggs, inside the female, until developmentally ready to be birthed. Information on gestation, litter size and birth size are not known.


The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species currently lists the Lana’s sawshark as Near Threatened with a decreasing population trend.


Lana’s sawshark is not used by humans and therefore is not targeted by the commercial fishing industry. They are caught as bycatch in commercial fishing gear. Their natural predators are not known. It could be suspected that larger sharks may prey upon them.


California Academy of Sciences

Planet Shark Divers

Shark Sider


The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Dulvy, N.K., Bineesh, K.K., Cheok, J., Cotton, C.F., Sherman, C.S. & VanderWright, J. 2020. Pristiophorus lanae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T162209834A162209852. Accessed on 25 March 2023.

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