Whiskery Shark, Furgaleus macki (Whitley 1943)

Other Names: Mack's Whiskery Shark, Reef Shark, Shakey Shark, Snakey, Sundowner

A Whiskery Shark, Furgaleus macki. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved


A moderate-sized slender bottom-dwelling shark with slender nasal barbels - hence the common name.

A greyish-brown hound shark with a pale underside, and sometimes blotches on the body and fins. Juveniles are light brown with distinct darker blotches or saddle-like markings. It has a broadly-rounded snout, two similar widely-spaced dorsal fins, the first originating behind the rear tips of the pectoral fins, and a small anal fin.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2023, Furgaleus macki in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jul 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/1958

Whiskery Shark, Furgaleus macki (Whitley 1943)

More Info


Endemic to southern and Western Australia, from Bass Strait to North West Cape, Western Australia. The species is most common in south-western Australia from about Albany to Kalbarri.

These active swimming sharks live on or near the bottom usually in kelp beds and seagrass areas near rocky reefs


Jaw teeth (upper): 11 to 15-1-12 to 16
Jaw teeth (lower): 36 to 42


Feeds mostly on cephalopods - mostly octopus - but also preys on squid, crustaceans and bony fishes.


Females give birth to live young, producing litters of 4-29 pups every second year. The young are born at length of 22-27 cm following a 7-9 month gestation period. Males mature at about 4.5 years of age, and females at 6.5 years.


Targeted in the demersal gillnet fishery in south-western Australia, with smaller numbers caught in South Australian waters. The fishery is considered to be well-managed and is regularly assessed. The species is also taken by recreational fishers. The flesh is reportedly good eating.


IUCN Red List: Least Concern


The species is named in honour of George Mack, ornithologist and ichthyologist at the National Museum of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.

Species Citation

Fur macki Whitley 1943, Aust. Zool. 10(2): 168, fig. 1. Type locality: Mordialloc, Port Phillip Bay, Victoria.


Bray, D.J. 2023


Atlas of Living Australia

Whiskery Shark, Furgaleus macki (Whitley 1943)


Compagno, L.J.V. 1984. FAO Species Catalogue. Sharks of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Carcharhiniformes. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125. Rome : FAO Vol. 4(2) 251-655 pp.

Compagno, L.J.V., Dando, M. & Fowler, S. 2005. A Field Guide to the Sharks of the World. London : Collins 368 pp.

Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

Hoschke, A., Whisson, G. & Moore, G.I. 2019. Complete list of fishes from Rottnest Island. pp. 150-161 in Whisson, G. & Hoschke, A. (eds). The Rottnest Island fish book. 2nd ed. Perth.

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.

Hutchins, J.B. & Thompson, M. 1983. The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of South-western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 103 pp. 345 figs. (as Furgaleus ventralis)

Kailola, P.J., Williams, M.J., Stewart, P.C., Reichelt, R.E., McNee, A. & Grieve, C. 1993. Australian Fisheries Resources. Canberra : Bureau of Resource Sciences and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation 422 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.

Scott, T.D. in Scott, T.D., Glover, C.J.M. & Southcott, R.V. 1974. The Marine and Freshwater Fishes of South Australia. Adelaide : Government Printer 392 pp. figs. (as Fur ventralis)

Simpfendorfer, C.A., Chidlow, J., McAuley, R.B. & Unsworth, P. 2000. Age and growth of the whiskery shark, Furgaleus macki (Whitley, 1943), from south-western Australia. Environmental Biology of Fishes 58: 335-343.

Simpfendorfer, CA & Donohue, K. 1998. Keeping the fish in 'fish and chips': research and management of the Western Australian shark fishery. Marine and Freshwater Research 49: 593-600.

Simpfendorfer, C.A., Donohue, K. & Hall, N. 2000. Stock assessment and risk analysis for the whiskery shark (Furgaleus macki (Whitley)) in south-western Australia. Fisheries Research 47: 1-17. PDF

Simpfendorfer, C.A., Goodreid, A. & McAuley. R.B. 2001. The diet of three commercial important sharks from Western Australian waters. Marine and Freshwater Research 52: 975-985.

Simpfendorfer, C., McAuley, R.B. & Harry, A.V. 2016. Furgaleus macki. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T39351A68623545. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T39351A68623545.en. Downloaded on 17 December 2018.

Simpfendorfer, CA & Unsworth, P. 1998. Reproductive biology of the whiskery shark, Furgaleus macki, from south-western Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 49: 687-693.

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.

Whitley, G.P. 1943. Ichthyological notes and illustrations. Part 2. The Australian Zoologist 10(2): 167-187 figs 1-10. See ref at BHL

Whitley, G.P. 1943. A new Australian shark. Records of the South Australian Museum 7(4): 397-399.

Whitley, G.P. 1951. New fish names and records. Proceedings of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales 1949–50: 61-68 figs 8-10. (described as Fur ventralis, type locality off Bunbury, Western Australia) See ref at BHL

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37017003

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:2-220 m

Fishing:Fished commercially

Habitat:Reef associated - seagrass, kelp areas

Max Size:160 cm TL


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