We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Port Jackson Shark?

By Angie Bates
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A Port Jackson shark is named for its home around Port Jackson, Australia. This nocturnal, bottom-dwelling shark is found exclusively in Australian waters, most commonly along the southern coast. Belonging to a family of sharks with distinctive teeth, the Port Jackson Shark's scientific name is Heterodontus portusjacksoni. In Latin, heterodontus means “different tooth.” Port Jackson Sharks are not considered harmful to humans.

The Port Jackson shark is distinguished by its blunt head and spines on the edge of its two dorsal fins. These spines are common to all eight species of sharks in the heterodontus genus. The spines are also the reason heterodontus sharks are often referred to as “horn sharks.” The fin spines are blunt on adults, but sharp on the young, or pups. Port Jackson sharks are most commonly light brown, and the black harness-like bands found around the shark's upper body are specific to the species.

While some species of sharks produce live young, the Port Jackson shark is oviparous, meaning that it lays eggs. After the autumn mating season, females lay their eggs in rocky areas, frequently close to shore. The eggs change color from olive green to brown in the first few weeks but take 10 to 11 months to mature before hatching.

The female Port Jackson shark matures at a slower rate than the male. The male will grow to maturity after eight to 10 years, but the female does not mature until 11 to 14 years. The female, however, is bigger on average than the male, measuring about 31 inches (78.7 cm), compared to 23 inches (58.4 cm) for the male.

Unlike more famous sharks, Port Jackson sharks have small mouths with back teeth much like molars, and their front teeth are wide and blunt. Their teeth are designed to grind and break the shells of their primary food, sea urchins and crustaceans. These sharks do eat various fish, but only pups chiefly eat soft foods, because they do not yet have all of their adult teeth.

A notable characteristic of Port Jackson sharks is that they can eat and breathe at the same time. Many sharks need to swim in order to manually push water over their gills, which forces them to continue moving in order to breathe. Port Jackson sharks, however, can pump water over their gills using their first gill slit. Thus, they can breathe without having to move and often stay stationary near the bottom of their environment for long periods of time.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon254838 — On Mar 14, 2012

What is a shark? And what does the port jackson shark look like?

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.