Zebra Bullhead Shark

About the Zebra Bullhead Shark

The Heterodontus Zebra, also known as the Zebra Bullhead Shark, is a bullhead shark that belongs to the Heterodontidae family. This shark is mainly found in the central Indo Pacific, from Japan and Korea to Australia.

The Bullhead Shark has a large blunt head, low supraorbital crest gradually sloping behind the eyes. Has dorsal fin spines, anal fin, and a zebra pattern of dark, narrow vertical bands on a pale background. The maturity size ranges from 64 to 84 cm TL, males reach a maximum size of 125 cm TL, information about females is currently unknown.

The reproduction of the Bullhead Shark is oviparous, paired eggs are laid. Embryos feed solely on yolk and they have had a distinct pairing with embrace. Females lay 2 eggs at a time, from spring to late summer in Japan, 6-12 times during a single spawning season. The eggs then hatch a year later at 18 cm, reaching 1.2 cm TL. During courtship, males grasp pectoral fin of female and wrap its body under her so single clasper can be inserted into her cloaca. Copulation can last as long as 15 min based on observation.

A commons but little known, typically found in shallow depths down to 50 m, but off western Australia, this one occurs between 150 and 200 m. It probably feeds on small fishes and invertebrates, as with the other members of the family.

The H. Zebra is of little commercial interest to fisheries but is often caught as bycatch by commercial trawlers and possibly other fisheries in the range. There are currently no conservation measures in place for this species.

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Scientific NameHeterodontus Zebra
OrderBullhead Sharks - Heterodontiformes
CitesNot Listed
IUCNLeast Concern
Litter Size2
SpeciesHeterodontus Zebra
Max Lenght125.cm
Depth Range50-200 m
DistributionWestern Central Pacific