Common name: Bullhead Sharks, Horn Sharks, Hornsharks, Port Jackson Sharks


Bottom-dwelling shallow water sharks with two dorsal fins, each beginning with a large spine, an anal fin, a large head with distinctive ridges over the eyes and a small terminal mouth. The small sharp teeth at the front of the jaws differ markedly from the large crushing molars at the rear of the jaws - perfect for feeding on hard-shelled invertebrates.

Horn sharks are nocturnally active and feed on a range of benthic invertebrates. Females lay large spiral-shaped egg cases.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Horn Sharks, HETERODONTIDAE in Fishes of Australia, accessed 13 Jul 2024,

More Info

Family Taxonomy

A small family found in the Indo-Pacific, with a single genus Heterodontus and nine species. Three species occur in Australian waters.

Family Distribution

Family Description

Family Size

Family Colour

Family Feeding

Family Reproduction

Family Commercial

Family Conservation

Family Remarks

Family Biology


Dianne J. Bray

Family Resources


  • Compagno, L.J.V. 2001. Sharks of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Bullhead, mackerel and carpet sharks (Heterodontiformes, Lamniformes and Orectolobiformes). Rome : FAO, FAO Species Catalogue for Fisheries Purposes No. 1 Vol. 2 269 pp.
  • Compagno, L.J.V. & Niem, V.H. 1998. Families Squatinidae, Heterodontidae, Parascylliidae, Brachaeluridae, Orectolobidae, Hemiscylliidae. pp. 1235-1259 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 2 687-1396 pp.
  • Compagno, L.J.V., Dando, M. & Fowler, S. 2005. A Field Guide to the Sharks of the World. London : Collins 368 pp.
  • Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Canberra : CSIRO Australia 513 pp. 84 pls.
  • Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Collingwood : CSIRO Publishing Australia 2, 550 pp.
  • White, W. 2008. Shark Families Heterodontidae to Pristiophoridae. pp. 32-100 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.