The Australian Museum is teaming up with the Australian Marine Conservation Society and Humane Society International to highlight some of Australia’s threatened sharks and rays in Fantastical Sharks & Rays. Opening in September 2024, the exhibition will feature the work of budding and established Australian artists.

Young Australians, aged 15 and under, were asked to enter our competition by creating an artwork that depicted a uniquely Australian shark or ray. The winning entries will be reinterpreted by 10 leading Australian artists, including Blak Douglas, Ken Done and Jennifer Turpin. With more than 1,500 incredible entries received, choosing just 10 proved incredibly difficult.

The remarkable young artists whose works have been selected will be displayed side-by-side with the works created by our 10 renowned Australian artists at the Australian Museum later this year. To learn more about the competition, view the artworks and winning entries click through to the Shark Champions website.

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Meet the Fantastical Sharks & Rays

  • Maugean Skate

    Zearaja maugeana

    Australia’s living dinosaur, this ray has been around since the T. rex was stomping the earth! It has a pointy nose, big wings, and tiny thorns down its spine. On the brink of extinction, it’s only found in one place on earth, Macquarie Harbour in Tasmania.

  • Australian Longnose Skate

    Dentiraja confusa

    This ray looks like it might be related to Pinocchio - except the Longnose skate isn’t lying, it just has a long nose. Shaped like a sparkly diamond, it has spots all over its back. We really must get our skates on to save these beauties of the deep.

  • Eastern Angelshark

    Squatina albipunctata

    An angel that’s lost its wings! In fact, this angelshark has swapped them for two dorsal fins instead. Flat and round, it has a "moustache" to detect movement and is speckled with white spots to help it camouflage into the sand where it sleeps - but when it wakes up, it can be found 450m deep!

  • Greeneye Spurdog

    Squalus chloroculus

    It’s unlikely you will ever see this shark because it lives more than 1000m beneath the deep blue sea. It has incredible superpowers - big bright green eyes to help it see in the near-pitch black depths, and an organ in its head to help it know when to ascend at night for food or descend to the deep and rest during the day.

  • Melbourne Skate

    Spiniraja whitleyi

    With a name like “Melbourne”, some might think this diamond-shaped beauty looks like a trendy hipster. Well, it might not wear a beanie, but this stingray is grey like Melbourne weather. When not swimming 345m deep, they can be found in the best restaurants of the sea, munching on unsuspecting spider crabs and octopus.

  • Greenback Stingaree

    Urolophus viridis

    Is it seaweed or is it a stingray? Meet the greenback stingaree, a slippery stingray the colour of greeny-brown moss. Like its cousin, the Yellowback stingaree, this ray is flat, flat, flat, with spirals around its BIG eyes. In the last 30 years, its population has fallen by 30 percent - imagine what could happen if you turn this ray into a masterpiece.

  • Yellowback Stingaree

    Urolophus sufflavus

    Yellow like the sun, these stingrays are named for their glorious colour. They have been nick-named “Pancake Sharks” because they are part of the same group of animals as sharks, just flatter. Don’t be fooled though, these stingrays aren't for eating, so save the maple syrup for actual pancakes!

  • Whitefin Swellshark

    Cephaloscyllium albipinnum

    When this swellshark feels threatened, it swallows water to make itself look bigger and harder to eat. It lays eggs called a “Mermaid’s Purse” - but it has to watch out for fishing hooks or trawler nets that could scoop it up from its home on the bottom of the sea.

  • Southern/Eastern Fiddler Ray

    Trygonorrhina dumerilii/Trygonorrhina fasciata

    Imagine if a ray had a baby that looked like a violin! This ray is also known as the 'Banjo Ray' because it is shaped like an oval with a long tail. It has dark brown swirls across its mustard-yellow back. Hard to miss - until it buries itself in the sand to hide.

  • Lined Lanternshark

    Etmopterus dislineatus

    This tiny shark can fit inside your palm! Living 800m deep on the seafloor, this very mysterious shark has light-emitting organs, so it glows in the dark to light its way.

Fantastical Sharks & Rays is presented in partnership with the Australian Marine Conservation Society and Humane Society International.