Crested Hornshark, Heterodontus galeatus (Günther 1870)

Other Names: Crested Bull Shark, Crested Bullhead Shark, Crested Horn Shark, Crested Port Jackson Shark, Crested Shark

A Crested Horn Shark, Heterodontus galeatus, at The Gap, Sydney, New South Wales, 20 September 2015. Source: John Turnbull / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike


A medium-sized shark with a blunt rounded head, large prominent crests above the eyes, two triangular dorsal fins, each preceded by a spine, and indistinct broad dark bars on the body.

The Crested Horn Shark is less common than the Port Jackson Shark.

Video of a Crested Horn Shark at Bawley Point, New South Wales.

Video of a Crested Horn Shark trying to eat an eggcase at Sydney, New South Wales.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Heterodontus galeatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 08 Jul 2020,

Crested Hornshark, Heterodontus galeatus (Günther 1870)

More Info


Endemic to warm temperate and temperate waters of eastern Australia, from about Cape Moreton in southern Queensland to Batemans Bay in southern New South Wales.

Crested Hornsharks are nocturnal and inhabit rocky reefs with large macroalgae, and nearby sandy and seagrass areas in depths of 1-93 m. The species is more common in the warmer parts of its range.


To 1.5 m TL



Carnivores. Crested Hornsharks are nocturnal and have a similar diet to the Port Jackson Shark. They feed on a range of bottom-living invertebrates, including echinoderms (especially the sea urchins Centrostephanus rodgersii and Heliocardis erythrogramma) crabs, molluscs and small fishes, using their large rear molars to crush their prey.

The jaw teeth range from small and pointed at the front, to wide, molar-like teeth at the rear of the jaw used for crushing hard-shelled prey items.


Very little is known of the biology and life history of Crested Hornsharks in the wild. During late winter, females lay spiral-shaped egg cases (11 cm long) attached to sponges and algae by the very long tendrils (up to 2 metres long). The young reportedly hatch at 17-22 cm TL after  8-9 months. The egg cases are thought to be laid in deeper water than those of the Port Jackson Shark.


Crested Hornsharks are not targeted in commercial fisheries and, unlike Port Jackson Sharks, are not taken as often as commercial bycatch or by recreational fishers.


IUCN Red List: Least Concern

EPBC Act 1999: Not listed


Similar Species

Differs from the Port Jackson Shark, Heterodontus portusjacksoni, in having more prominent ridges above the eyes and in lacking harness-like markings on the body.


Heterodontus is from the Greek heteros meaning 'other' and odous meaning 'teeth'. The specific name galeatus is Latin meaning 'helmeted', in reference to the large ridges above the eyes.

Species Citation

Squalus portusjacksoni Meyer, 1793,  Systematisch-summarische Uebersicht der neuesten zoologischen Entdeckungen in Neuholland und Afrika: 71. Type Locality: Botany Bay, New South Wales


Dianne J. Bray


Crested Hornshark, Heterodontus galeatus (Günther 1870)


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37007003

Behaviour:1.5 metres TL

Conservation:IUCN: Least Concern

Depth:1-93 metres

Habitat:Rocky reefs

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CAAB distribution map