Australian Swellshark

About the Australian Swellshark

Australian Swellsharks, also known as draughtboard shark, are endemic to shallow water off the coast of southeastern Australia at depths up to 220 m. 

Biology and Behaviour

Australian swellsharks have a short, broad head and a round, brownish to greyish coloured body. Along their back, they have wide dark saddles behind their eyes and an irregular array of dark and light spots. 

Swellsharks inflate their stomachs with air or water to increase their size when they are threatened. 

They inhabit rocky and sandy bottoms and feed on small crustaceans, cephalopods and small fish.

Reproduction and Lifespan

Australian swellsharks are oviparous and eggs are laid in pairs all year round. Young swellsharks hatch after 11 to 12 months and are about 14 cm long at birth. They can reach 150 cm long with females maturing at 82 cm long and males maturing at 76 cm in length.

Conservation and Tourism

The IUCN lists Australian swellsharks as least concern. However, there are some implementations that benefit the conservation of this species. The restructuring of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery through buy-back of Commonwealth fishing licences and reductions in Total Allowable Catches (TACs) help conserve the Australian swellshark population. 

Do you have images or videos of Australian Swellsharks?
Submit them to [email protected].

Australian Swellshark Gallery

Scientific Name Cephaloscyllium laticeps
OrderGround Sharks - Carcharhiniformes
CitesNot Listed
IUCNLeast Concern
Litter Size Unknown
Species Cephaloscyllium laticeps
Common Length
Max LenghtNA
Depth Range 1-220 m
DistributionEastern Indian Ocean, Southwest Pacific