Aquatic Animals with the Most Prominent and Longest Snouts

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Here are some aquatic animals whose most prominent feature is their long snout.

Paddlefish

The paddlefish is distinct because of its large mouth and its elongated snout that is called a rostrum or bill. These

spatula-like snouts comprise half the length of their entire body. Paddlefish which belongs to the family Polyodontidae

are primitive ray-finned fishes. One notable species of a paddlefish is the American paddlefish.

American Paddlefish (Polyodon spathula)

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The paddlefish takes its common and scientific names from its distinctive snout, which is greatly elongated and

flattened into a paddle shape. The American paddlefish is believed to use sensitive electro-receptors on its paddle to

detect prey, as well as to navigate while migrating to spawning sites. The American paddlefish is also called the

Mississippi paddlefish or spoonbill and lives on the Mississippi River drainage system. This large freshwater fish

may grow to 220 cm or 7 ft and weigh up to 100 kg or 220 pounds.

Sawfish

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The most eye-catching feature of the sawfish is its saw-like snout, called a rostrum. The rostrum is covered with motion-

and electro-sensitive pores that allow sawfish to detect movement and even heartbeats of buried prey in the ocean floor.

The rostrum acts like a metal detector as the sawfish hovers over the bottom, looking for hidden food. It is also used as a

digging tool to unearth buried crustaceans. When a suitable prey swims by, the normally lethargic sawfish will spring from

the bottom and slash at it furiously with its saw. This generally stuns or injures the prey sufficiently for the sawfish to devour

it without much resistance. Sawfishes have also been known to defend themselves with their rostrum, against predators

(like sharks) and intruding divers. The “teeth” protruding from the rostrum are not real teeth, but modified denticle scales.

Sawfish became a powerful symbol in many cultures. Aztecs revered sawfish as a “Big penis’d monster.” Its penis is used

by some Asian shamans for sexual pleasure and other ceremonies to repel demons and disease, which has contributed

to its demise. The smallest sawfish is the 1.4 m (4.6 foot) dwarf sawfish, a species much smaller than most other sawfish.

The largest species seem to be the large-tooth sawfish and the southern sawfish, both of which can exceed 7 m (23 feet)

in length. One southern sawfish, whose length for some reason went unmeasured, was said to have weighed 2,455 kg

(5,400 lbs).Another notable species of sawfish is the Small Tooth Sawfish.

Small-tooth Sawfish (Pristis pectinata)

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Their most striking appearance is a long, toothy snout. The rostrum is the main sensory device of sawfishes. Sawfish

are nocturnal, usually sleeping during the day, hunting at night. Despite fearsome appearances, they are gentle fishes

and will not attack humans unless provoked or surprised. All species of sawfish are considered critically endangered

and international trade is banned.

Shortnose Sawshark (Pristiophorus nudipinnis)

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This aquatic creature has an appearance similar to a sawfish but belongs to another family. The shortnose sawshark is

a sawshark found in the eastern Indian Ocean endemic to Australia at depths of between 37 and 165 m. The shortnose

sawshark is found on the continental shelf, with a length up to 1.2 m. Its reproduction is ovoviviparous, with size of pups

at birth about 25 cm.

Longnose Gar (Lepisosteus osseus)

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This species of gar has a long, cylindrical body covered with diamond-shape scales and distinctively has a long snout.

The snout is elongated into a narrow beak containing many large teeth. Gar flesh is edible and sometimes available in

markets but their eggs are poisonous. Several species are traded as aquarium fish. The Longnose Gar is a primitive

ray-finned fish of the gar family. It is also known as the Needlenose Gar. It ranges in length from 60-100 cm (24-40 in)

and weighs 0.5-3.5kg (1-7 lbs). It is reported to have a maximum size of 2 m. and an average life span of 17- 20 years.

Sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus)

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There are two species of sailfish, one of which is the Indo-Pacific Sailfish. It is a sailfish endemic to the Indian and

Pacific Oceans. Sailfish have a large and sharp bill that they use for hunting. They feed on tuna and mackerel, some

of the fastest fish in the Ocean. They are able to prey on the faster fish in the sea because their top speed has been

clocked at 68 mph, making them the fastest fish in the ocean.

Alligator Gar (Atractosteus spatula)

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This aquatic creature with remarkably alligator-like teeth, along with its snout, gives it its name – Alligator Gar. Unlike

other gars, the mature Alligator Gar possesses a dual row of large teeth in the upper jaw. The photo above was a ten-

foot Alligator Gar which was caught and photographed at Moon Lake in Mississippi in 1910. Alligator gar is a primitive

ray-finned fish. It’s also referred to as the Gator Gar. Their scales are diamond-shaped and interlocking and are sometimes

used by Native Americans for jewelry.

Elephant-nose Fish (Gnathonemus petersii)

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The most striking feature of this creature, as its names suggest, is a trunk-like protrusion on the head. This is not actually

a nose, but a sensitive extension of the mouth, that it uses for self-defense, communication, navigation and finding foods

to eat. This organ is covered in electro-receptors, as is much of the rest of its body. Elephant-nose Fish have specially

adapted mouths to root out food from murky river bottoms. It is also known with other names in English such as Long-nosed

Elephant fish, and Ubangi mormyrid, after the Ubangi River.

Goblin Shark (Mitsukurina owstoni)

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The most distinctive characteristic of the goblin shark is the unorthodox shape of its head. It has a long, trowel-shaped,

beak-like rostrum or snout, much longer than other sharks’ snouts. Another distinguishing characteristic of this shark is

its long and protrusible jaws. When the jaws are retracted, the shark resembles a Pink Grey Nurse Shark with an unusually

long nose. The Goblin Shark is a deep-sea shark, the sole living species in the family Mitsukurinidae.

Swordfish (Xiphias gladius)

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Swordfish, which are also known as Broadbill, are large, aggressive fish which may reach up to 14 feet long and a

weight of 1,200 pounds, with rounded bodies and long flattened snouts. They have been reported to attack men, boats,

whales and submersibles. Swordfish are highly migratory, predatory fish characterized by a long, flat bill. They are a

popular sport fish, though elusive. Swordfish lose all teeth and scales by adulthood. They reach a maximum size of

177 in. (455 cm) and 1,400 lb (650kg). The all-tackle angling record for a swordfish was a 1,182 lb (536.15 kg) specimen

taken off Chile in 1953.

Spinner Dolphin (Stenella longirostris)

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This underwater creature is famous for its acrobatic displays in which they will spin longitudinally along their axis as

they leap through the air. An added distinct feature of Spinner Dolphin is their long snout which makes them appear

unique. The Spinner Dolphin is a small dolphin found in off-shore tropical waters around the world.

Baiji (Lipotes vexillifer)

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The Baiji is a freshwater dolphin found only in the Yangtze River in China. It is nicknamed “Goddess of the Yangtze” in

China and is also called with many other common names like; Chinese River Dolphin, Yangtze River Dolphin, Whitefin

Dolphin and Yangtze Dolphin. In 2007, Baiji is classified as a critically endangered species and is possibly acknowledged

as extinct.

Pipefish (Syngnathinae)

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Pipefish look like straight-bodied seahorses with tiny mouths. The name is derived from the peculiar form of their snout,

which is like a long tube, ending in narrow and small mouth which opens upwards and is toothless. The body and tail are

long, thin, and snake-like. They have a highly modified skeleton formed into armored plating. This dermal skeleton has

several longitudinal ridges, so that a vertical section through the body looks angular, not round or oval as in the majority

of other fishes.

Seahorse

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Aside from their resemblance to horses, one peculiar feature of seahorses is their long snout. There are over 32

species of seahorse, mainly found in shallow tropical and temperate waters throughout the world. Seahorses are

a genus of Hippocampus of fish belonging to the family Syngnathidae, which also includes pipefish and leafy sea

dragons.

I hope you enjoyed this article and somehow it had provided you useful and meaningful information.

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