Broadnose Shark, Notorynchus cepedianus Click to enlarge image
A Broadnose Shark at a depth of 8 m, False Bay, Western Cape, South Africa, 30 January 2016. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    cepedianus
    Genus
    Notorynchus
    Family
    Hexanchidae
    Order
    Hexanchiformes
    Class
    Chondrichthyes
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The Broadnose Shark grows to at least 3 m in length.

Introduction

The Broadnose Shark lives in temperate waters, usually on the bottom unless in shallow waters and feeds on fish, seals and cetaceans. It is viviparous, having litters of up to 80 young.



Identification

The Broadnose Shark has seven long gill slits in front of the pectoral fins, a single small dorsal fin well back on the body, and a wide, blunt snout. The teeth are cockscomb shaped, those on the lower jaw are wider than those in the upper jaw.

The species is silver-grey to brownish above and white below. It has black and white spots on the upper body and fins.



Habitat

It has been found in shallow surface waters of bays an estuaries down to at least 200 m on the continental shelf.

Distribution

The Broadnose Shark occurs in most temperate seas. In Australia it is known from the central coast of New South Wales, around the south of the country, including Tasmania, and west to south-western 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.



Feeding and diet

It feeds on other sharks, rays, bony fishes, seals, cetaceans and carrion.

Danger to humans

It is considered potentially dangerous to people, but the only confirmed attacks have been on divers in aquaria.


Broadnose shark skull photograph c1880s
Broadnose Shark, Notorynchus cepedianus. From photographic album of prints from negatives c1880s. Image: Henry Barnes Snr
© Australian Museum

References

  1. Compagno, L.J.V. 1984. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 4, Sharks of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 1 - Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes: viii, 1-250.
  2. Glover, C.J.M. in Gomon, M.F., C.J.M. Glover & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
  3. Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. CSIRO. Pp. 513, Pl. 1-84.