Varied Carpetshark, Parascyllium variolatum (Duméril 1853)

Other Names: Necklace Carpet Shark, Necklace Carpetshark, Ring-necked Catshark, Southern Catshark, Varied Carpet Shark, Varied Catshark

A Varied Carpetshark, Parascyllium variolatum, in Port Phillip, Victoria. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved

A slender eel-like shark with a greyish to brownish body, a distinctive broad black collar behind the head speckled with small white spots, indistinct dark saddles and pale spots along the body, and large dark blotches on the fin margins. These small nocturnal sharks are rarely seen during daylight hours.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Parascyllium variolatum in Fishes of Australia, accessed 18 Jul 2024,

Varied Carpetshark, Parascyllium variolatum (Duméril 1853)

More Info


Endemic to southern Australia, from off East Sister Island, Victoria, to Dongara, Western Australia, including northern Tasmania. Although relatively common, the Varied Carpetshark is rarely seen. During the day, this nocturnal species shelters in caves, crevices and under ledges, foaging at night amongst kelp, seagrass beds and over sandy areas.


Jaw teeth (upper) 28; Jaw teeth (lower) 32.
Body very long and slender, almost eel-like, with a rounded head, a small underslung mouth and short fleshy nasal barbels; two dorsal fins of similar size, well back on the body, the first arising between the pelvic and anal fins.


Greyish to brownish with indistinct dark saddles and pale spots on body; a distinctive broad black collar speckled with small white spots behind head.


Carnivore - feeds mostly on shellfish.


Little is known of the biology and ecology of this species. The species is oviparous (egg-laying) and the egg capsules have two, sometimes three elongated horns. Females lay one or two egg capsules.


Although not targeted, the Varied Carpetshark is very occasionally taken by recreational fishers.

Species Citation

Hemiscyllium variolatum Duméril, 1853, Revue Magasin Zool. (Paris) 2 5: 11, 121, pl. 3(1). Type locality: coasts of Australia.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Varied Carpetshark, Parascyllium variolatum (Duméril 1853)


Compagno, L.J.V. 1984. FAO Species Catalogue. Sharks of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125. Rome : FAO Vol. 4(1) pp. 1-249.

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

Duméril, A.H.A. 1853. Monographie de la tribu des scylliens ou roussettes (poissons plagiostomes) comprenant deux espèces nouvelles. Revue et Magasin de Zoologie (Paris) 2 5: 8-25 73-87 119-130 pl. 3 See ref at BHL

Goto, T. & P.R. Last. 2002. A new parascylliid species, Parascyllium sparsimaculatum, from Western Australia (Elasmobranchii: Orectolobiformes). Ichthyol. Res. 49(1): 15-20.

Grant, E.M. 2002. Guide to Fishes. Redcliffe : EM Grant Pty Ltd 880 pp.

Heupel, M.R. 2016. Parascyllium variolatum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41844A68640093. Downloaded on 16 January 2018.

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

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.

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

McCoy, F. 1874. On a new Parascyllium from Hobson's Bay. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 4 13(3): 15 pl. 2 (as Parascyllium nuchalis)

Michael, S.W. 1993. Reef sharks and rays of the world. A guide to their identification, behavior, and ecology. Sea Challengers, Monterey, California. 107 pp.

Stevens, J.D. 1994. Families Echinorhinidae, Squalidae, Oxynotidae, Parascyllidae, Orectolobidae. pp. 91-118 figs 28-73 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.

Weigmann, S. 2016. Annotated checklist of the living sharks, batoids and chimaeras (Chondrichthyes) of the world, with a focus on biogeographical diversity. Journal of Fish Biology 88(3): 837-1037 See ref online Open access

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. 1940. The Fishes of Australia. Part 1. The sharks, rays, devil-fish, and other primitive fishes of Australia and New Zealand. Sydney : Roy. Zool. Soc. N.S.W. 280 pp. 303 figs.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37013004

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:3-180 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:92 cm TL


Species Maps

CAAB distribution map