Whitefin Swellshark

The whitefin swellshark is a catshark living in the waters of Australia.

Whitefin Swellshark Scientific Classification

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Chondrichthyes
Order Carcharhiniformes
Family Scyliorhinidae
Genus Cephaloscyllium
Scientific Name C. albipinnum


On average, these sharks are 3.6 ft long. It has a short wide head, a broad round snout, slit-like eyes, and nostrils covered by flaps. Inside their large mouth are 90–116 upper tooth rows and 97–110 lower tooth rows – the upper rows remain exposed even when the shark closes its mouth.

Whitefin swellsharks have broad pectoral fins, two dorsal fins, the first rounded and large and the second smaller and triangular, and a large caudal fin with a distinct lower lobe.

When looked at from above, they are brown or gray, and when looked at from below, the underside is lighter. There are dark blotches all over the shark’s body, with more being present in juveniles than adults.

Where do they live

The whitefin swellshark is endemic to the southeastern part of Australia, with sightings in Batemans Bay in New South Wales, Eucla in Western Australia, the Great Australian Bight, and southern Tasmania.

Its depth range is 413–1818 ft, where it inhabits the bottom of the ocean floor around the outer continental shelf and upper continental slope.



Like other swellsharks, this shark will suck in water or air to increase its size to intimidate predators.


These sharks are oviparous, with the eggs enclosed inside smooth yellow cases with tendrils at the corners to keep them tethered.

Sexual maturity is observed in males when they are 28 inches long and in females when they are 39 inches long.

Interactions with humans

This shark resides in a severely overfished region, so it is a regular bycatch in trawls. The IUCN classified this shark as “Critically Endangered” or “CR”, noting that it is one of four species threatened with extinction by trawling.

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