Harrisson's Dogfish, Centrophorus harrissoni Click to enlarge image
A Harrisson's Dogfish caught at a depth of 350m, East of Hawks Nest, New South Wales, 9 September 1975. Image: Mark McGrouther
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    harrissoni
    Genus
    Centrophorus
    Family
    Centrophoridae
    Order
    Squaliformes
    Class
    Chondrichthyes
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    It grows to about 1.15 m in length.

Introduction

Harrisson's Dogfish is a small grey shark that occurs in continental slope depths of south-eastern Australia and New Zealand.


What do Harrisson's Dogfish look like?

Identification

The species is greyish in colour with a dark band on both dorsal fins. In life, its eyes are greenish. The posterior tips of the pectoral fins are elongated.. The second dorsal fin is smaller than the first.


Harrisson's Dogfish, Centrophorus harrissoni
Harrisson's Dogfish, Centrophorus harrissoni. Image: Ken Graham
© CC BY-NC 4.0

Where do Harrisson's Dogfish live?

Habitat

Harrisson's Dogfish occurs in continental slope at depths of 220-790m from south-eastern Australia and New Zealand. Has been recorded down to 1050m from New Zealand.

Distribution

Found off Eastern Australia from the Fraser Seamount in Queensland to South East Cape, Tasmania. Also know from seamounts and ridges of the Kermadec, Three Kings and Nofolk Ridges. Possibly off New Caledonia.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.



What do Harrisson's Dogfish eat and what is their life cycle?

Feeding and diet

Harrisson's Dogfish eat mainly fishes, particularly lanternfish (Myctophidae) and cephalopods.

Life history

Harrissons Dogfish are born at between 32-40 cm and grow to ~115 cm TL. They are a very late maturing species, with female maturing about 98 cm TL and 23-26 years old, while males mature at about 80-85 cm TL at around 15-34 years of age. Females generally give birth to litters of 1-2 pups every 1-2 years.


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Are Harrissons Dogfish endangered?

Conservation

Harrisson's Dogfish are critically endangered across its entire range. This species was fished for its flesh, fins and liver oil by demersal trawl fisheries, which over a 20 years period from the 1970’s caused a 99% population decline. Catches are now controlled by fishing trip limit and closed areas.


References

  1. Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Edition 2. CSIRO. Pp. 644, Pl. 1-91.
  2. Bray, D.J. 2021, Centrophorus harrissoni in Fishes of Australia, accessed 29 Aug 2022, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/342