Longest sawfish ever washes ashore in Florida Keys
A huge smalltooth sawfish that may be the longest ever measured by researchers recently washed ashore in the Florida Keys.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced last week a 16-foot female weighing somewhere between 800 and 1,000 pounds washed up on a beach at Cudjoe Key.
It was one of two large sawish that washed up dead in the Florida Keys last week, with the second found at Marvin Key measuring at more than 12 feet and weighing between 400 and 500 pounds.
“The 16-foot sawfish…is the longest measured by scientists since research began on the species,” the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a Facebook post.
“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,” the post said. “Sawfish biologists are working to learn as much as possible from samples they collected.”
The sawfish was found with “eggs the size of softballs” in her reproductive tract, Live Science reported.
The species live in tropical seas and estuaries off the Atlantic Ocean and can be found in shallow, coastal waters, although they do enter the lower reaches of freshwater river systems.
The smalltooth sawfish was the first marine fish to receive protection as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act in 2003. Their populations have dropped due to coastal development and accidental capture in fishing nets, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
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