Clarifying the Range of the Endangered Largetooth Sawfish in the United States
The United States population of the endangered Largetooth Sawfish (Pristis pristis) has a high probability of extinction. It is critical to identify areas with valid historical records as these areas may be important to the recovery of the species. The U.S. range is reported to extend as far east as Florida based on one vouchered specimen and 3 historical records from this state. Three of these reports presume a local capture location despite a lack of locality data. The vouchered specimen was presumed captured in southern Florida, but evidence suggests otherwise. Dried specimens observed in Florida were most likely imported to Florida from the Indo—Pacific region, or from the Caribbean, for the marine curio trade. A vouchered rostrum, purportedly from Louisiana, lacks locality data and it cannot reliably be assigned to this state. We believe that the range of the Largetooth Sawfish in the U.S. never extended farther east than Texas, which was likely the northern limit of its range in the western Atlantic Ocean. Future conservation efforts should be directed to areas in Texas rather than states to the east where the species likely never occurred.
Clarifying the range of the endangered largetooth sawfish in the United States.