Variegated Catshark, Asymbolus submaculatus Compagno, Stevens & Last 1999

Other Names: Saddled Catshark

Variegated Catshark, Asymbolus submaculatus. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A relatively robust catshark with an ornate pattern of multi-colored blotches overlain with black spots, underside of the head, abdomen and tail sometimes with black spots, a short caudal fin and broadly rounded dorsal fins. The Variegated Catshark has teeth with 3 large cusps (length of longest exceeding half spiracle diameter).

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Asymbolus submaculatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 29 Nov 2023,

Variegated Catshark, Asymbolus submaculatus Compagno, Stevens & Last 1999

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Endemic to south western Western Australia, from off Eucla to the Perth region. Inhabits caves and ledges on rocky reef at depths of 30-200 m.


Oviparous (egg layer). Males are mature by 38 cm total length (TL).


Infrequently caught as incidental by-catch in the Great Australian Bight Trawl Sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery.


The species is named submaculatus in reference to the spots that are present on the underside in some of the type specimens.

Species Citation

Asymbolus submaculatus Compagno, Stevens & Last 1999, CSIRO Marine Laboratory Report 239: 8, fig. 2. Type locality (probably incorrect): Off Cape Howe, New South Wales, Australia, 37°39.0'S, 150°13.0'E, depth 180-200 m.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Variegated Catshark, Asymbolus submaculatus Compagno, Stevens & Last 1999


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

Compagno, L.J.V., Stevens, J.D. & Last, P.R. 1999. Australian spotted catsharks of the genus Asymbolus (Carcharhinidae: Scyliorhinidae). Part 1: Descriptions of three new species from Western Australia. pp. 2-18, figs 1-3 in Last, P.R. (ed.) Australian catsharks of the genus Asymbolus (Carcharhiniformes: Scyliorhinidae). CSIRO Marine Laboratory Report 239: 1-35, 6 figs 

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

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Canberra : CSIRO Australia 513 pp. 84 pls. (as Asymbolus sp. C)

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Collingwood : CSIRO Publishing Australia 2, 550 pp. 

Séret, B. & Last, P.R. 2008. Asymbolus galacticus sp. nov., a new species of spotted catshark (Carcharhiniformes: Scyliorhinidae) from New Caledonia. Cybium 32(2): 137-143. See ref online

Simpfendorfer, C. & Heupel, M.R. 2016. Asymbolus submaculatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41726A68609812. Downloaded on 06 May 2020.

Stevens, J.D. 1994. Families Carcharhinidae, Triakidae, Scyliorhinidae. pp. 120-138 figs 76-107 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs. (as Asymbolus sp. 1)

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.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37015010

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern


Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:44cm TL


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