Port Jackson Shark

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The Port Jackson Shark (Heterodontus portusjacksoni) belongs to the shark family Heterodontidae. This is a small Indo-Pacific family that is made up of a single genus which has 8 species that are distributed in subtropical and temperate seas. There are 3 Australian species, Port Jackson Shark and the Crested Horn Shark being two of them which are found in south eastern Australian waters. The 3rd Australian species is restricted to the tropics and is known as the Zebra Horn Shark that has been caught in fishing trawls. The Port Jackson Shark is distributed from southern Queensland down to Tasmania around to the southwest coast and has also been recorded in New Zealand.

The Port Jackson Shark is very similar in appearance to the Crested Horn Shark. The Port Jackson can be distinguished by the dark brown/black lines on its body that form a triangle above the pectoral fins. The dorsal fins of the Port Jackson are triangular and have good size dorsal spines. Around winter time (June – August) large congregations of Port Jackson Sharks can be found on NSW coastal reefs in gutters and caves. During this period they come together to mate. The females will deposit their eggs in reef cracks or amongst kelp and the long tendrils of the egg casings help attach it to weeds and crevices. The female will produce approximately 15 eggs and after a 10 month period small young will hatch at a size of 15 to 20cm.

The Port Jackson Shark is a slow moving species and is easily approached by scuba divers. They are known to feed on benthic invertebrates such as crabs and they use their teeth to crack and crush through the shells of crustaceans. The Port Jackson Shark grows to a maximum size of 1.6m.

Family: Heterodontidae

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