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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Sawfish Going Extinct
2 October 2013 4:30 pm
The vast sandy channels and grassy flats of Brazil’s Amazon estuary may be the last, best hope for the beleaguered largetooth sawfish (Pristis pristis) in the Atlantic Ocean. The swimmer, known for its long, tooth-edged snout that looks like some alien saw blade, is one of the world’s most threatened marine creatures, a victim of overfishing and habitat loss. The shark relative is found around the world in tropical and semitropical seas, but in recent years conservationists have become gravely concerned about Atlantic stocks. The fish may now be extinct in some parts of its Atlantic range, including waters off the southern United States, northern South America, and southern West Africa, researchers report in Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. And an analysis of more than 800 sightings and catch records from 1830 to 2009 suggest that just three sawfish strongholds remain in the Atlantic: the Colorado-San Juan River system in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, the Bissagos Archipelago in Guinea-Bissau, and—most important—the Amazon estuary. Greater protection for these areas is “crucial,” the authors conclude, “if the extinction of the species in the Atlantic Ocean is to be prevented.”