A small, slender whaler shark, the Australian sharpnose shark (which I almost named as the ‘sharknose’) is… well, it has a pretty sharp-looking nose indeed. It’s got a long, narrow snoot (yes, snoot, not snout) which are adorned with labial furrows on the corners of their mouth. On each side of their mouth, you can see a little over 10 pores… but maybe you don’t want to be THAT close to them.
In Australia, they have been spotted from Western Australia to the state of Queensland. Elsewhere they occur in southern Papua New Guinea… and possibly in other regions, but we haven’t observed them there yet! They prefer habitats with soft bottoms like sand or mud (or a mix) and tend to be an inshore species.
The Australian sharpnose shark has large eyes and deeply notched teeth, allowing them to catch a myriad of bony fishes, crustaceans, and cephalopod molluscs. They are a grey-blue colour that gives way to a creamy underbelly underneath. A small shark, they only reach up to 88cm total length (TL) and only dive down to 110 metres.
The IUCN has assessed them as least concern (LC) due to small numbers being taken as bycatch in fisheries. They’ve also assessed them this way because they are one of the fastest-growing and most productive species of shark known; females produce up to 10 pups each year and mature after a single year! Wow! They also have one of the highest rates of population increase of any shark species. All of this makes them a pretty hardy shark—good to hear!
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
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