Australia

Most of the eggcases shown below were sent to us by Charlie Huveneers, a PhD student at Macquarie University, Sydney studying Wobbegongs in Australia.


Zebra Shark (Stegostoma fasciatum):

Zebra Shark Eggcase © Charlie Huveneers.
  • Produce large eggcases (17 x 8 x 5cm) with strong 'ridges'.
  • Adults are often mistaken for leopard sharks (Triakis semifasciata) due to its spots.
  • Juveniles have stripes, which fade into leopard-like spots, as it matures.
  • Has a long caudal fin which is nearly as long as its body - they can grow up to 11.5ft long.
  • Listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
Zebra Shark IUCN Red List Distribution Map

Necklace Carpet Shark (Parascyllium variolatum):

Necklace Carpet Shark Eggcase © Charlie Huveneers.

Necklace Carpet Shark Eggcase © Charlie Huveneers.

  • Also called; Southern Catshark, Southern Collared Catshark, Varied Carpet Shark and Varied Catshark.
  • Predominantly bottom-dwelling inhabiting depths of up to 180m.
  • Dark grey to brown with a broad spotted collar over the gills and black spots on the fins. The rest of the body has a variable pattern of dark blotches and white spots.
  • Endemic to South Australia.
  • Reproduce oviparously and lay eggs in pairs.
  • Listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. Due to its size and depth range it is unlikely to be impacted by trawlers as a bycatch.
Necklace Carpet Shark IUCN Red List Distribution Map

Rusty Carpet Shark (Parascyllium ferrungineum):

Rusty Carpet Shark Eggcase © Charlie Huveneers.
  • Grey-brown with an indistinct dark collar around the gills. Six or seven dusky saddles are present along the body, with dark spots on the body, tail and fins.
  • Reside in temperate waters along the continental shelf at depths of 5-150m.
  • Endemic to Southern Australia.
  • Listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List - it is not targeted by fisheries and is rare in bycatch.

Rusty Carpet Shark IUCN Red List Distribution Map


Port Jackson Shark (Heterodontus portusjacksoni):

Port Jackson Shark Eggcase © Charlie Huveneers.
  • Produces corkscrew-shaped eggcases.
  • As you can see from the ruler in the picture, their eggcases are quite large - this example is almost 15cm long.
  • After laying the eggcase, the female will wedge it into a rock crevice, where it will remain for nearly a year while the young shark develops.
  • The shark emerges at the 'top' of the eggcase and is 15-20cm long.

Port Jackson IUCN Red List Distribution Map


Longtailed Carpet Shark (Hemiscylliidae):

Longtail Carpet Shark Eggcase © Charlie Huveneers.
  • The Longtailed Carpet Shark family contains 12 species in total. Although the exact identification of this eggcase is not yet known, it is suspected to be a Speckled Carpet Shark (Hemiscyllium trispeculare).
  • The Speckled Carpet Shark and the Epaulette Shark are very similar species with similar ranges. The biology of this family is very poorly known, however most are oviparous, laying oval shaped eggcases.
  • Strong, muscular leg-like paired fins are used to clamber about on reefs and in crevices in search of prey.

Brownbanded Bamboo Shark (Chiloscyllium punctatum):

Brownbanded Bamboo Shark Eggcase © Charlie Huveneers.
  • Brownbanded Bamboo Sharks are named as the juveniles have dark transverse bands extending the length of their body. This colouration disappears as the individual matures.
  • Like the Epaulette Shark, the Brownbanded Bamboo Shark has the ability to survive low oxygen conditions by switching off non-essential brain functions and can survive out of water for up to 12 hours.
  • When the young hatch from their eggs they are about 17cm long but can grow to a metre or more.

Brownbanded Bamboo Shark IUCN Red List Distribution Map


Elephantfish (Callorhinchus milii):

Elephantfish Eggcase © Charlie Huveneers.
Elephantfish Eggcase © Charlie Huveneers.

  • The distinctively-shaped egg cases are sometimes found washed ashore after storms. They are up to 25cm long, 10cm wide, and take up to eight months to hatch.
  • In spring, females migrate into coastal bays and estuaries to lay two egg cases simultaneously, in sand and muddy substrates.
  • The elephantfish can be easily recognised by the hoe-shaped structure on the snout, which is used to locate food on the seabed.
  • There are three different elephant fish in the world's oceans, one type in Australia and New Zealand, one in South Africa and the other in South America where they live in depths of up to 200m. In New Zealand it is caught commercially.

Crested Bullhead Shark or Crested Port Jackson Shark (Heterodontus galeatus):

Crested Bullhead Shark Eggcase © Jamie Strachan.
  • Endemic to the eastern Australian states of Queensland and New South Wales.
  • Produces corkscrew shaped eggcases (approximately 11cm in length).
  • Long tendrils anchor the eggcase to seaweed or sponges.
  • Eggcase submitted to the Great Eggcase Hunt by Jamie Strachan.

    Crested Bullhead Shark IUCN Red List Distribution Map

 

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