Draughtboard Shark, Cephaloscyllium laticeps Click to enlarge image
Dorsal and lateral views of a Draughtboard Shark from the Australian Museum fish collection. This specimen is the holotype of Cephaloscyllium isabella laticeps nascione, Whitley, 1932 (AMS IA.2829). It was collected at a depth of 165 m, 38 km north-east of Montague Island, New South Wales in September 1926. Image: Mark Allen
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    laticeps
    Genus
    Cephaloscyllium
    Family
    Scyliorhinidae
    Order
    Carcharhiniformes
    Class
    Chondrichthyes
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    It grows to about 1.5 m in length.

Introduction

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 60 m, but is sometimes seen by divers in relatively shallow depths.



What do Draughtboard Sharks look like?

Identification

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.


Draughtboard Shark, Cephaloscyllium laticeps
Draughtboard Shark, Cephaloscyllium laticeps. Image: Bruce Deagle
© CC-BY 4.0

Where do Draughtboard Sharks live?

Habitat

The Draughtboard Shark is the most common catshark in coastal southern Australia. It is a benthic species that occurs most commonly in continental shelf and continental slope waters down to at least 60 m, but is sometimes seen by divers in relatively shallow waters.


Draughtboard Shark, Cephaloscyllium laticeps
Draughtboard Shark, Cephaloscyllium laticeps. Image: John Turnbull
© CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Distribution

The species is endemic to Australia, occurring from Sydney New South Wales, around the temperate south of the country, including Tasmania, to the Recherche Archipelago in south-eastern Western Australia.



What is the life cycle of Draughtboard Sharks and how have they adapted?

Life history

The Draughtboard Shark is ~16-18 cm when hatched and is reported to grow to 1.5 m. Females mature at ~82 cm and lay distinctive flask-shaped egg cases (13 cm x 5 cm long) 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, they hatch after 12 months. Males mature at ~84 cm.

Behaviours and adaptations

When disturbed, the Draughtboard Shark can increase its body size by inflating its stomach with air or water. They are a huge problem for crayfish fishermen in Bass Strait where they enter crayfish pots in search of food. Their prey consist of squid, octopus, crustaceans and occasionally small fishes.


Draughtboard shark egg case

Draughtboard shark egg case. The Draughtboard shark 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. 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. 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.

Image: Victor Belbin
© Victor Belbin

Sharks exhibition at the Australian Museum

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References

  1. William T. White & Dianne J. Bray, Cephaloscyllium laticeps in Fishes of Australia, accessed 05 Aug 2022, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/3748
  2. 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.
  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. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
  5. Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. CSIRO. Pp. 513.