Blind Shark, Brachaelurus waddi (Bloch & Schneider 1801)

Other Names: Blindshark, Brown Cat Shark, Brown Catshark, Brown Cat-shark, Dusky Dogfish

A Blindshark, Brachaelurus waddi, at North Solitary Island, New South Wales. Source: Ian V. Shaw / Reef Life Survey. License: CC by Attribution

A greyish to brownish shark with pale spots and flecks, and darker saddles across the back that fade with growth. This nocturnal bottom-dwelling shark has a broad flattened head, distinctive barbels projecting from each nostril and two dorsal fins close together towards the rear of the body.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Brachaelurus waddi in Fishes of Australia, accessed 04 Dec 2022,

Blind Shark, Brachaelurus waddi (Bloch & Schneider 1801)

More Info


Endemic to eastern Australia from Moreton Bay, Queensland, to Jervis Bay, New South Wales. Records from the Northern Territory are yet to be confirmed. 
Inhabits rocky reefs, shorelines, and adjacent seagrass beds, sheltering in caves and under ledges during the day, moving out to feed at night.


Caudal fin with its upper lobe at a low angle above body axis, with a strong terminal lobe and subterminal notch but no ventral lobe.


Feeds on a variety of benthic invertebrates, including sea anemones, squid and crustaceans, as well as on small fishes.


Little is known of the life history of the Blind Shark. The species is aplacental yolksac viviparous, meaning that the young develop from eggs inside the uterus and are born live. Females produce litters of 7  to 8 young pups during late spring, that are born at a length of 17 cm TL.


The common name Blind Shark refers to the habit of this species closing its eyes when removed from the water.

Similar Species

The closely-related Colclough's Shark has pale spots and flecks on the body, and a yellowish underside.


Brachaelurus is from the Greek brachys meaning 'short", and ailouros meaning 'cat.

Species Citation

Squalus waddi Bloch & Schneider, 1801, Systema Ichthyologiae: 130. Type locality: near Sydney, Australia (as New Holland).


Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Blind Shark, Brachaelurus waddi (Bloch & Schneider 1801)


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37013007

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-140 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:120 cm TL


Species Maps

CAAB distribution map