Sawfish (Sealife by CollectA)

Review and images by JimoAi; edited by bmathison1972

What rivals the great white shark in terms of length, lives in saltwater, brackish, and freshwater conditions tn tropical and subtropical regions, and is seriously endangered? If you said the sawfish (Pristidae), you are correct. There are 5 species alive today, ranging from the smallest, the dwarf sawfish (Pristis clavata) at 318 cm to the largest, the largetooth sawfish (Pristis pristis) at 720 cm maximum (although nowadays most are smaller) and the subject of this review. These fish are often confused with the similar looking sawsharks, and the key distinguishing features between sawfish and sawsharks is that all sawfish are larger than saw sharks and sawsharks’ gills are positioned at the side of the side of the fish while the sawfish has them on the underside; also, the sawfish lacks anal fins. All 5 species are characterized by their iconic rostrums which are lined by sharp transverse teeth, which are used to stun fish and crustacean prey, and give the animal its common name, have a shark-like body (similar to guitarfish and torpedo rays), have their gill slits on the underneath. All 5 species are either listed as Endangered or Critically Endangered by the IUCN due to their low reproductive rates, habitat loss, their tendency to get their rostrums entangled in fishing nets, and overhunting for their rostrums as a trophy and occasionally their fins and meat. They inhabit tropical and subtropical waters worldwide but their populations have been decimated so much in the last few years that they are regionally extinct in half of their former range and the only hot spots for these fish today are in northern Australia and Florida. The sawfish breeds in estuaries, where the pups will stay for the first part of their lives, occasionally moving upriver where there is an increase in salt, except the largetooth sawfish, which moves upriver to freshwater. The young are born with their teeth in a sheath, to avoid hurting the mother, which will be unfolded shortly after. Despite this, they are vulnerable to predators including crocodiles, large sharks, and occasionally marine mammals like dolphins. These large fish are uncommon in public aquaria with the dwarf sawfish being only kept in Japan and the green being kept in Australia, North America, and parts of Asia.

About the figure: this sawfish measures at 21.5 cm long from the tip of the rostrum to the caudal fin. This puts this figure roughly at the 1:22-1:34 scale. This sawfish is a female due to the absence of claspers. The figure is sculped after the largetooth sawfish and is sculpted with the back half of the animal turning to the right as if the fish is either casually swimming on the sea or river bed or it is preparing to stun its prey. There are 15 pairs of teeth on either side of the rostrum sculpted, which the real animal has 14 to 24 pairs, making the number of teeth on this figure accurate. The pectoral fins are rounded and the body is relatively flat, which suits it as an animal living on the seabed, unlike Papo’s attempt, which makes it more shark like in body plan. Although intentionally blunted for children’s’ safety, they are still sharp enough to compare to the real animal. There looks to be fin rays sculpted on the caudal fins, which is an odd design choice, similar to the CollectA hammerhead. The nostrils and the mouth are sculpted like a typical ray’s and there is the correct number of gill slits: 5 pairs.

The sawfish is painted in this dark olive-green colour, which does somewhat match a real sawfish, which can range from greenish, greyish, or brownish. The eye is an orange brown color with a black pupil. The underbelly is white with some minute speckling And the figure is semi-glossed all over. Overall, a nice figure of this unusual fish!

As of April 2021, this figure is still in production and is relatively inexpensive, despite being one of the larger sea animals made by CollectA, being cheaper than things like the spotted seal. It has an accurate sculpt, paint job, and overall, a neat figure! This is the second time CollectA has made a ray; the first was their manta ray and after this sawfish they made a wonderful bowmouth guitarfish, both of which are the quintessential rays companies always make. Other sawfish figures available are the larger Monterey Bay Aquarium sawfish by Safari Ltd., the Papo one which has more of a shark-like body, and the now retired version by Schleich (which is the only one that has claspers sculpted and out of all these). The CollectA takes the cake in being the best.

With Colorata’s Australian lungfish

Compared to Schleich’s version:

Compared to a 1:21 scale Matsuura Kanan for human reference:

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