Melissa is the kind of girl that finds certain things cute: puppies, bunnies, kitties, babies, etc. One thing that she finds extra cute that many others- girls and guys- alike don’t find so cute? Sharks.
The crested bullhead shark (Heterodontus galeatus) is definitely in the top of her, “What sharks Melissa finds cute” list.
I mean, that face.
Those little teeth. Swoon.
These cute critters are seen off the eastern coast of Australia (figures… they have adorable quokkas, the platypus, kangaroos and koalas, of course they get a cute shark). However, they’re an uncommon resident in the bullhead shark family (Heterodontidae), seen anywhere from the coast to 93 m (305 ft). They are rather small (only reaching a max length of 1.2 m/ 4 ft), have large ridges above their eyes and sport a large, blotchy pattern throughout their body. They are nocturnal bottom-dwellers who favor rocky reefs and highly vegetative areas.
"Do they like eating sea grass?"
No! They hunt for sea urchins (Centrostephanus rodgersii and Heliocidaris erythrogramma) and other small critters like invertebrates and fishes. In fact, they even eat Port Jackson shark eggs! These nutrient-filled cases are a delightful treat for the crested bullhead, and are sometimes eaten whole or have the developing embryos sucked out. Good for the crested bullhead, not so much for the Port Jackson shark.
They are oviparous, and unlike the spiraled egg cases that the Port Jackson sharks lay, theirs are auger-shaped. These are secured to seaweed, coral, and sponges with their sticky tendrils.
The IUCN has listed these harmless sharks as Least Concern (LC), as it is rarely caught as bycatch or in shark nets.
who wants to head to australia to see these sharks?
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
SEE MELISSA'S TEDx TALK HERE:
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