Oman Bullhead Shark

The Oman Bullhead shark is a species known for its distinctive coloring and egg case. It is native to the shores of Oman. It was described in 2005 and is one of the most recently studied members of its genus. It is similar to the Japanese Bullshark, but its pattern and dorsal fins help distinguish it.

Oman Bullhead Shark Scientific Classification

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Chondrichthyes
Order Heterodontiformes
Family Heterodontidae
Genus Heterodontus
Scientific name H. omanensis


Adult females are generally larger than males, growing to 61 cm (2 ft). The males can reach lengths of 56 cm (1.7 ft).

They are brown with 4-5 darker saddles evenly placed along the length of the body and dark-tipped fins. The head is rounded and pig-like, with bar markings between the eyes and the nostrils joined to the mouth. Their front teeth are sharp and pointed, while the lower teeth are broad and flat.

Their pectorals fins are large and paddle-like, while the dorsal fins are relatively small, spiny, and have a light streak. The first dorsal originates over the pectoral fin margins. The tail fin is asymmetrical and preceded by an anal fin.

Where do they live

Map Of The Oman Bullhead Shark’s Habitat

Oman Bullhead Shark Habitat Map

This tropical shark is exclusive to Oman in the Western Indian Ocean. However, specimens have been reported in the Arabian Sea from Pakistan and Masirah Islands. They inhabit the continental slope at depths of 72-80 m (236-263 ft).



This species is oviparous, with a unique egg case having two extremely long strands originating at the base and flanges with two turns, compared to its family members’ three turns. This shape allows them to be hidden between rocks and kelp to protect them from predators. The egg cases are lighter colored when laid, turning brown as they harden.


They are nocturnal and hunt from rock crevices at night. They feed by sucking prey into their mouths and use their differently-shaped teeth to crush and grind them.


This species is slow-moving and uses its large paddle-like pectoral fins to propel itself across the ocean floor and grab onto rocks. They eat and breathe simultaneously while resting motionless on the seabed.

Human interactions

Little is known about these sharks. Its main threat is from being caught as a bycatch in its limited habitat. More research must be done to evaluate its population and risk level.

The IUCN has labeled this species as “Data Deficient” or “DD.”

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