Animal Species:Draughtboard Shark, Cephaloscyllium laticeps (Dumeril, 1853)
The Draughtboard Shark is a stocky species that has a short broad head and widely spaced denticles. The species is endemic to Australia occuring in depths to at least 650 m, but is sometimes seen by divers in relatively shallow depths.
The Draughtboard Shark has been called a number of other common names including Australian Swellshark, Flopguts, Isabell's Swell Shark, Nutcracker Shark, Rock Shark, Sleepy Joe, Spotted Swellshark, Swell Shark and Whitefinned Swellshark.
The Draughtboard Shark is a stocky species that has a short broad head and widely spaced denticles. There are two dorsal fins. The second dorsal fin which is located close to the caudal fin, is smaller than the first.
The species is grey to brownish above and pale below. The sides of the body are mottled with irregular dark blotches and a few pale flecks. There is usually a dark area below both eyes and a dark stripe along the midline of the belly.
It grows to about 1.5 m in length.
The species is endemic to Australia, occurring from the central coast of New South Wales, around the temperate south of the country, including Tasmania, to south-eastern Western Australia.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
Distribution by collection data
It is a benthic species that occurs most commonly in continental shelf and continental slope waters down to at least 650 m, but is sometimes seen by divers in relatively shallow waters.
Other behaviours and adaptations
When disturbed, the Draughtboard Shark can increase its body size by inflating its stomach with air or water.
Mating and reproduction
Females lay distinctive flask-shaped egg cases that have 19 to 27 strong transverse ridges. The egg cases are laid on the bottom where the tendrils attach to bottom-dwelling invertebrates and seaweed.
- Stevens, J.D. 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.
- Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
- 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.
Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Tags fishes, ichthyology, Draughtboard Shark, Cephaloscyllium laticeps, Scyliorhinidae, stocky body, short broad head, wide denticles, endemic to Australia, shallow water, Sleepy Joe, Flopguts, Isabell's Swell Shark, Nutcracker Shark, Rock Shark, Spotted Swellshark, Whitefinned Swellshark, Australian Swellshark, grey, brown, pale underside, dark blotches, pale flecks, dark stripe along midline, > 1m, adult, marine, Swellshark,