Broadnose Shark, Notorynchus cepedianus (Péron 1807)

Other Names: Broadnose Seven Gill Shark, Broadnose Sevengill Shark, Broadnose Seven-gill Shark, Broadsnout, Broad-snout, Broadsnout Sevengill Shark, Broadsnouted Seven-gill Shark, Cow Shark, Cowshark, Ground Shark, Seven Gilled Shark, Sevengill Cowsharks, Sevengill Shark, Seven-gilled Shark, Spottie, Tasmanian Tiger Shark, Tiger Shark

A Broadnose Shark, Notorynchus cepedianus. Source: Ross Robertson / Shorefishes of the tropical eastern Pacific online information system. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0


A grey to greyish brown speckled and spotted shark with 7 pairs of gill slits, a broad rounded head with a short blunt snout and a singe dorsal fin, far back on the body.

Although quite sluggish, Broadnose Sharks are large, powerful predators, and can be aggressive, particularly if provoked. The species is responsible for a number of attacks on humans in public aquaria - there have been no verified attacks in open water.

Great footage of a female Broadnose Shark (aka Sevengill Sharks) at Millers Point, Cape Town, South Africa. 

Broadnose Sharks (aka cow sharks) off Cape Town, South Africa.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Notorynchus cepedianus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 26 Sep 2023,

Broadnose Shark, Notorynchus cepedianus (Péron 1807)

More Info


Found in temperate waters on the continental shelf of southern Australia, from the Sydney Region (New South Wales) to Esperance (Western Australia). Elsewhere almost circumglobal in most temperate seas; absent from the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea.

Although large individuals often inhabit offshore waters, they also occur near the bottom in the deeper areas of bays and harbours. Smaller individuals are more commonly found inshore.

The species occurs in depths of 0-136 m, but mostly above 50 m, and often in surface waters. Broadnose Sharks are usually seen cruising over rocky reef habitats, as well as over sandy and muddy bottoms.


Body elongate, shallow (approx. 11% TL); no keels or precaudal pits on caudal peduncle. Head moderately large (approx. 17% TL), narrow; snout tapering, length more than 1.5 times internasal distance; nostrils not connected to mouth by groove; eyes oval; spiracles minute; teeth in upper jaw fang-like, with slender oblique cusp, those laterally with one or two smaller cusps on either side of base, teeth in lower jaw comb-like with six to ten cusps, second distinctly longer than others, distinctive median tooth in lower jaw only, rear teeth in both jaws rudimentary; seven gill slits in front of pectoral fin. 

Single dorsal fin near tail, above region between ventral and anal fins; anal fin small, height about half height of dorsal fin;  caudal fin heterocercal, upper lobe long (approx. 30% TL), with distinct sub- terminal notch, lower lobe short. Pectoral fins moderately small, broad, tip narrowly rounded, hind margin weakly concave.


To about 3 m in length.


Broadnose Sharks are opportunistic predators. They use their sharp, jagged upper jaw teeth to grab and hold their prey. The large, wide saw-like teeth in the lower jaw are used for cutting and tearing flesh. The species reportedly feeds on a wide range of  bony fishes, sharks, rays, seals, dolphins and carrion.


Broadnose sharks are aplacental viviparous (ovoviviparous) - embryos develop from eggs that hatch in the uterus of the mother. They are nourished via the yolk-sac then absorb nutrients from uterine secretions until they are born. Broadnose sharks have large litters, and pups are born at a length of 40-45 cm. Males mature at 1.5 m, females at 2.2 m.


Broadnose sharks have been heavily fished throughout most of their range. In Australian waters, they are caught by commercial and recreational fishers, and the flesh is marketed as flake.


Broadnose sharks are unpredictable and can be aggressive if provoked. Although the species is responsible for a number of attacks on humans, none have been recorded in open waters.

Species Citation

Squalus cepedianus Péron, F. 1807. Voyage de Découvertes aux Terres Australes, Fait par Ordre du Gouvernement, sur les Corvettes la Géographe, le Naturaliste et la Goulette le Casuarina, pendant les années 1800, 1801, 1802, 1803 et 1804. Paris : Arthus Bertrand Vol. 1: 337. Type locality: Adventure Bay, Tasmania.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Broadnose Shark, Notorynchus cepedianus (Péron 1807)


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37005002

Conservation:IUCN Data Deficient

Danger:Potentially dangerous to humans

Depth:1-136 m

Habitat:Commercial, recreational fish

Max Size:300 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map