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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Port Jackson Shark Facts You Won't Believe!

Port Jackson shark facts on the shark with harness-like markings.

Port Jackson sharks (Heterodontus portusjacksoni) are found in the depths of the Pacific Ocean in Australia. They belong to the family Heterodontidae and are oviparous in nature. They can be found in different colors like fawn, light brown, grayish-white, or completely white. They mostly feed on crustaceans and mollusks and are also known as oyster crushers as well. The embryo of these species is hunted down by other shark species. They are predatory in nature but do not pose any threat to human beings. The Port Jackson shark has its native habitat in temperate South Australian waters. They are known to swim across southern Queensland, Tasmania, and then towards the central coast of Western Australia. The scientific name for the horn shark is Heterondontus francisci which derives from the Greek word heteros, meaning different; and odont, meaning teeth.

Read on for some of the most interesting Port Jackson shark information to enhance your knowledge before deciding to adopt a Port Jackson shark pet. After reading these fascinating facts about the Port Jackson shark, do check our other articles on the nurse shark and the leopard shark as well.

Port Jackson Shark Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Port Jackson shark?

A Port Jackson shark (Heterodontus portusjacksoni) is a fish found in the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean and the temperate waters of southern Australia to Tasmania. They are nocturnal in nature and are top predators. Though they do not attack human beings, they may bite if provoked.  

What class of animal does a Port Jackson shark belong to?

Port Jackson shark (scientific name Heterodontus portusjacksoni) is a type of cartilaginous fish belonging to the group of bullheaded sharks. Heterodontus portusjacksoni are not widely distributed and can be found in the coastal regions of Southern Australia from southern Queensland. Port Jackson sharks possess the capability to eat and breathe simultaneously with the help of its gill slits.

How many Port Jackson sharks are there in the world?

The population of Port Jackson sharks is stable and this species is classified as a species of Least Concern by the IUCN. Their populations are mostly found in Australia, extending to Tasmania and Western Australia. They are deep water sharks that mostly feed on sea urchins, echinoderms, and crustaceans.

Where does a Port Jackson shark live?

A Port Jackson shark can be found in the depths of the Pacific Ocean in the Southern part of Australia. This species is a type of bullhead shark.

What is a Port Jackson shark's habitat?

Port Jackson sharks’ habitat is deep, temperate waters with rocky environments. It is a bottom-dwelling shark that is also sometimes found near the shore. Sandy and muddy habitats can also be used by the Port Jackson shark. These sharks can be found from southern coastal Australia to the central coast of Western Australia. Some species have also been found as far north as York Sound in Western Australia.  

Who do Port Jackson sharks live with?

During the initial stages of development, juvenile Port Jackson shark pups (male and female) live together in groups for several years. After reaching adulthood, the group members separate into males and females and lead a solitary life at the bottom of the ocean.

How long does a Port Jackson shark live?

The Port Jackson shark is the largest species of Heterodontus shark. It has an average lifespan of 30 years in captivity. Some specimens of the Port Jackson shark have lived for more than 30 years.

How do they reproduce?

The male port Jackson sharks achieve sexual maturity at the age of around 10 years old, while the females attain sexual maturity at the age of 11-14 years old. The manner of reproduction is oviparous, which means that the females give birth to live juvenile sharks after the eggs hatch inside the body. An annual reproductive cycle is seen in port Jackson sharks. The breeding season lasts from the month of August to the second week of November. After mating, the female gives birth to pairs of eggs every 10 days. The average clutch size is 16 eggs. The mother moves the soft-shelled eggs to rock crevices or depressions, where it incubates for the next 10-12 months.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of port Jackson sharks is listed as of Least Concern and their population is stable in Australia.

Port Jackson Shark Fun Facts

What do Port Jackson sharks look like?

Normally Port Jackson sharks are considered harmless unless provoked.

Port Jackson sharks are bull-headed sharks that are gray, white, fawn, or light brown in color. The head is blunt and the mouth is small. Their sides and back are covered in prominent bands of black. Crests are also seen above the Port Jackson shark's eye. These Australian sea sharks have spiny dorsal fins and an anal fin is present as well. The body of a Port Jackson shark is elongated and it is considered to be the largest shark in the group of bull-headed sharks.

How cute are they?

These Australian sea sharks are not very cute. This species is massive in size and can easily threaten human beings, but won’t attack them. If they are provoked or disturbed, these sharks may bite a human with their pointed sharp teeth. These teeth can inflict a serious wound on the human body.

How do they communicate?

There is no proper information available about the communication in Port Jackson Sharks. It is believed that like other shark species they also communicate through body movements and vibrations.

How big is a Port Jackson shark?

The Port Jackson shark is the largest shark in the group of bullheaded sharks. The average length of a male Port Jackson shark is 3.11 ft and they are 13.2 lb in weight while the females are longer and have an average body length of 3.34 ft and weigh between 31-35 lb. Sexual dimorphism is very evident, with females being twice the size of a male port Jackson shark.

How fast can a Port Jackson shark swim?

The average speed at which Port Jackson sharks swim is currently unknown.

How much does a Port Jackson shark weigh?

The female port Jackson sharks have a body mass of 31-35 lb, while the males weigh from 13.2-22 lb. The females are longer and heavier than the males, displaying sexual dimorphism.

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no distinctive names for the male and female species of port Jackson sharks. These Australian sea sharks are commonly segregated on the basis of their sexes and are called male port Jackson sharks and female port Jackson sharks.

What would you call a baby Port Jackson shark?

The baby port Jackson shark does not have a specific name. Like all other juvenile sharks, babies of port Jackson sharks are called Port Jackson shark pups.

What do they eat?

Port Jackson sharks mostly feed on sea urchins, mollusks, crustaceans, and other small fish species. The shell of the crustaceans is first crushed by the port Jackson shark and then the mass is swallowed. Like all other sharks, Port Jackson sharks do not chew their prey but swallow them whole. They forage during the night when their prey is most active. They also suck sand to catch their prey and blow it out from their gills. The juveniles feed on more soft-bodied prey than the adults.

Are they aggressive?

No, Port Jackson sharks are not aggressive in nature. Usually, they do not pose any danger to humans but they might bite a human being if they feel threatened. Port Jackson shark attack poses no threat to divers under the water unless and until the shark perceives any risk.

Would they make a good pet?

Port Jackson sharks live best in the bottom of the water and are bottom-dwellers. They might live for 30 years in captivity but should be left in their natural habitat to breed and feed. Moreover, providing suitable conditions for Port Jackson sharks to thrive might not be possible for a normal individual. Additionally, knowledge of Port Jackson shark eating habits and the Port Jackson shark tank is also extremely important.

Did you know...

Port Jackson sharks are named Heterodontus as they have pointed teeth that are not serrated but are quite sharp. In Greek, hetero means different and dontus means teeth, which suggests that they are sharks who have different teeth. These sharks can also breathe and eat at the same time. They are often seen motionless at the bottom of the ocean as they can breathe through their gills.

When you analyze the Port Jackson shark's jaw, the most distinguishing feature is their teeth. The front teeth are small, sharp, and pointed, while the back teeth are flat and blunt.

When you compare the Port Jackson shark vs horn shark, you will be able to understand the differences between the species. It is possible to differentiate the crested horn sharks with help of the dark blotch pattern on the body. Moreover, in horn sharks, the gill slits are placed laterally above and in front of pectoral fins.

How big are a Port Jackson shark's eggs?

The Port Jackson shark lays eggs that have an interesting appearance. Port Jackson shark eggs are dark brown in color. The egg case is a spiral that is extremely strong. The average length of the shark egg case is 3-3.5 in long. They are often washed out by the water on the beaches.

What does a mother Port Jackson shark do with its eggs?

The mother Port Jackson shark relocates the eggs in a safe hiding place. The eggs, when laid have a very soft shell which is developed and incubated in rock crevices or depressions where it is protected.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including the Caribbean reef shark and the saw shark.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our Port jackson shark coloring pages.

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