PORT PHILLIP BAY


Port Jackson Shark 

Heterodontus portusjacksoni (Meyer, 1793)

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Meristics.
Vertebrae: 114 (precaudal 76-81)

Additional information in:
Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) (2008) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Order level detail.
A small group of primitive sharks with large blunt heads, a terminal mouth and bony crests above the eyes. They are the only sharks with two dorsal fins, each beginning with a stiff spine, and an anal fin. They live on the bottom and feed mostly on hard shelled invertebrates using their distinctive grasping and crushing teeth.

Family level detail.
Small family with blunt, rounded heads with a raised crest over the eye, two dorsal fins each commencing with a venomous spine, an anal fin, and jaws with small sharp teeth in front and low, rounded molars in the rear for crushing prey.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Craniata
Superclass:
Gnathostomata
Class:
Chondrichthyes
Subclass:
Elasmobranchii
Order:
Heterodontiformes
Family:
Heterodontidae
Genus:
Heterodontus
Species:
portusjacksoni

Other Names

  • Bullhead
  • Bullhead Shark
  • Dogshark
  • Horn Shark
  • Oyster Crusher
  • Oyster-crusher
  • Pigfish
  • Tabbigaw

General Description

Head large, rounded head with a raised crest over the eye, two triangular dorsal fins, each with a spine; anal fin present. Body greyish to brownish with dark harness-like markings on the body. To 1.7 m, usually less than 1 m.

Biology

The Port Jackson Shark has small sharp teeth in the front of the jaws and molars at the rear, used for crushing prey of molluscs, crustaceans and echinoderms. They often aggregate in gutters and caves during the winter breeding season. Females lay leathery spiral egg cases and wedge them into crevices on rocky reefs. The young hatch after about a year. Although not dangerous, these sharks should be handled carefully due to the venomous dorsal-fin spines.

Habitat

Rocky reefs and adjacent sandy and seagrass areas, to depth of 275 m.

Reefs

Soft substrates

Distribution guide

New Zealand and southern Australia.

Species Group

Sharks and rays Sharks

Depth

Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

1.7 m

Diet

Carnivore

Harmful

Although not usually considered dangerous to humans, has the potential to bite. Dorsal fin spines are venomous.

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Recorded in Australia

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Least Concern

Author

article author Bray, D.J.

Di Bray is a Senior Collection Manager of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

Author

article author Gomon, M.F.

Dr. Martin Gomon is a Senior Curator of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F., 2011, Port Jackson Shark, Heterodontus portusjacksoni, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 29 May 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/7993

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