Juvenile Gummy Shark Click to enlarge image
A juvenile Gummy Shark caught at a depth of 12 m, Corinella, Westernport Bay, Victoria, 8 May 2014. The black dorsal fin margin is a juvenile characteristic. Image: Philip Clooney
© Philip Clooney

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    antarcticus
    Genus
    Mustelus
    Family
    Triakidae
    Order
    Carcharhiniformes
    Class
    Chondrichthyes
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to a length of 1.75 m.

Gummy sharks are normally grey above and silvery-white below. The species grows to a length of 1.75 m.

Identification

Gummy sharks are normally grey above and silvery-white below. The common name results from the teeth, which are arranged in a pavement-like pattern.

This species has also been called 'Sweet William'. Whitley (1940) stated that "The name "Sweet William", sometimes applied to the Gummy Shark, has been borrowed from a sobriquet for an English shark, the Tope, of which Pennant wrote, many years ago:- "It's skin and flesh has an offensive rank smell; therefore we suppose Mr Dale gave it ironically the title of Sweet William".



Distribution

In Australia the species occurs in temperate waters from northern New South Wales 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.



Feeding and diet

The Gummy Shark's diet includes mostly cephalopods and crustaceans, and occasionally bony fishes.

References

  1. 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.
  2. Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens, 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. CSIRO Australia. Pp. 513. Pl. 1-84.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. Pp. 437.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  5. Stevens, JD in Gomon, M.F, J.C.M. Glover & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
  6. Whitley, G.P. 1940. The fishes of Australia. Part I. The sharks, rays, devil-fish, and other primitive fishes of Australia and New Zealand. Royal Zoological Society N.S.W., Australian Zoological Handbook 1-280.