Animal Species:Crested Hornshark, Heterodontus galeatus (Günther, 1870)

The Crested Hornshark resembles the Port Jackson Shark, which has a harness-like pattern on the sides of the body and lower ridges above the eyes. It is found from shallow inshore waters, down to depths of around 90 m, feeding off echinoderms, crustaceans, molluscs and small fishes.

Standard Common Name

Crested Hornshark

Alternative Name/s

Crested Bull Shark, Crested Bullhead Shark, Crested Horn Shark, Crested Port Jackson Shark, Crested Shark

Identification

The Crested Hornshark has a blunt head with a prominent ridge above both eyes. It has two tall dorsal fins that are each preceded by a stout spine.

The species is grey to brown with large dark blotches. It resembles the Port Jackson Shark, which has a harness-like pattern on the sides of the body and lower ridges above the eyes.

Size range

The species grows to 1.5 m in length. Males mature at about 60 cm in length. Females mature at about 70 cm.

Distribution

The Crested Hornshark is endemic to Australia, occurring from southern Queensland to southern New South Wales.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Heterodontus galeatus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Crested Hornshark specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?

Habitat

It has been recorded from shallow inshore waters, down to depths of around 90 m.

Feeding and Diet

Dietary items include echinoderms, crustaceans, molluscs and small fishes.

Life cycle

Males mature at about 60 cm in length. Females mature at about 70 cm.

Mating and reproduction

It is an egg-laying species (oviparous). Females lay dark brown spiraled egg cases that are usually seen attached by tendrils to seaweed. The egg cases of Port Jackson Sharks look similar but lack tendrils. Young Crested Hornsharks hatch from the egg case after about eight months at about 22 cm in length.

Danger to humans and first aid

It is not a dangerous species. The spine at the leading edge of the dorsal fins of juveniles may be sharp.

Classification

Species:
galeatus
Genus:
Heterodontus
Family:
Heterodontidae
Order:
Heterodontiformes
Class:
Chondrichthyes
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Glover, C.J.M. in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
  2. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  3. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437. Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 1994 Sharks and Rays of Australia. CSIRO. Pp. 513.
  6. Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Edition 2. CSIRO. Pp. 644, Pl. 1-91.

 


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fish, ichthyology, Crested Horn Shark, Heterodontus galeatus, Heterodontidae, blunt head, two dorsal fins, grey, brown, dark blotches, Port Jackson Shark, > 1m, adult, marine, shallow water, Crested Hornshark,