Australian Weasel Shark

About the Australian Weasel Shark

The Australian weasel shark is an uncommon ground shark that inhabits shallow waters off the coast of northern Australia at depths up to 170 m. 

Biology and Behaviour

Australian weasel sharks are medium sized, but with a slim greyish to bronze coloured body with a pale underside. They have sickle-shaped fins with dark tips on the second dorsal fin and caudal fin.     

Young Australian weasel sharks occur near sand and seagrass habitats and as they grow older, they move to coral reefs. Australian weasel sharks feed mainly on octopuses and other cephalopods.

Reproduction and Lifespan

Australian weasel sharks are viviparous with a gestation period of six months. Females have two pregnancies per year and have an average of 16 pups a year. The pups are approximately 30 cm long at birth. Males reach maturity at about 60 cm long and females between 60 to 65 cm long.

Australian weasel sharks grow up to 110 cm long.

Conservation and Tourism

The IUCN lists Australian weasel shark as least concern. In Northern Australia, the fisheries are well managed and have implemented a catch limit for fishers with or without a shark fishing license.

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Scientific Name Hemigaleus australiensis
OrderGround Sharks - Carcharhiniformes
CitesNot Listed
IUCNLeast Concern
Litter Size 1-19
Species Hemigaleus australiensis
Common Length 110 cm
Max LenghtNA
Depth Range 12 - 170 m
DistributionSouthwest Pacific, Western Central Pacific, Eastern Indian Ocean