Friday, August 5, 2011

Green Sawfish in Atlantis

Our Sea-STAR of the Week is keeping up with the Shark Week theme! Our Green Sawfish are in the same family as sharks, along with rays and skates.

Sawfish are most recognizable by their rostrom, which is the long saw-like protrusion from their faces. It is covered motion sensitive and electrosensitive pores that help the sawfish to detect movement, as their eyes are fairly undeveloped. It can even allow them to detect the heartbeats of sea creatures hiding under the ocean floor!

They live in the tropical and sub-tropical waters of the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific oceans, and can even survive in the brackish water of estuaries, much like their cousin, the Bull Shark!  

While Sawfish in the wild spend most of their time lying on the ocean floor, the Sawfish here at the SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium prefer to hang out on top of the tunnel, giving guests a great view of themselves!  

They prefer to hunt at night, and swim into schools of fish moving their rostrom back and forth. The "teeth" on the rostrom, which are actually called "denticles", are very useful for spearing fish to eat!