Scymnodon plunketi (Waite 1910)

Other Names: Lord Plunkets Shark, Lord Plunket's Shark, Plunket Shark, Plunkets Dogfish, Plunket's Dogfish, Plunkets Shark, Plunket's Shark, Waites Deepsea Dogfish, Waite's Deepsea Dogfish

Plunket's Dogfish, Proscymnodon plunketi. Source: CSIRO National Fish Collection. License: CC BY Attribution

A stout uniform dark greyish-brown shark with blackish edges to the fins and yellow-green eyes. Juveniles are greyish.

Cite this page as:
Wood, D.R. & Bray, D.J 2019, Scymnodon plunketi in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Apr 2021,

Scymnodon plunketi (Waite 1910)

More Info


Off Port Macquarie, New South Wales to off Portland Victoria, and near Perth, Western Australia. Elsewhere the species is widespread with a patchy distribution in the Indo-west Pacific, from Mauritius to New Zealand. Inhabits continental and insular slopes at depths of 180-1,550 m, most commonly below 600 m.


Vertebrae (precaudal) 84-85, (total) 114-115.  
Snout short (preoral length 5-8% TL), bluntly pointed; pectoral fins large, broad, tip and inner corner rounded.  Reaches 1.7 m.


Feeds mostly on bony fishes and cephalopod molluscs.


Attains a maximum size of 170 cm total length (TL), and the species may live at least 39 years. Males mature at 100-120 cm TL and 18 years of age, and females mature at 130-145 cm TL and 29 years of age. Females produce litters of up to 36 pups, which are born at 32-36 cm TL. Reproduction is lecithotrophic viviparous and presumed to be asynchronous.


Taken as bycatch in bottom trawl and longline fisheries throughout its range.

Species Citation

Centrophorus plunketi Waite 1910, Trans. N. Z. Inst. 42: 384, 3 figs, pl. 37. Type locality: off Kaikoura, New Zealand.


Wood, D.R. & Bray, D.J 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Scymnodon plunketi (Waite 1910)


Bass, A.J. 1979. Records of little-known sharks from Australian waters. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 103(4): 247-254 figs 1-5 (as Centroscymnus plunketi)

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. (as Centroscymnus plunketi)

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

Daley, R., Stevens, J. & Graham, K. 2002. Catch analysis and productivity of the deepwater dogfish resource in southern Australia. Report by CSIRO Marine Research and NSW Fisheries to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation. FRDC Project 1998/108.

Ebert, D.A. 2013. Deep–sea Cartilaginous Fishes of the Indian Ocean. Volume 1. Sharks. FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 8, Vol. 1. Rome, FAO.  

Ebert, D.A., Fowler, S. & Compagno, L. 2013. Sharks of the World. Wild Nature Press, Plymouth.

Finucci, B. & Kyne, P.M. 2018. Scymnodon plunketi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T46865A68641556. Downloaded on 25 July 2019.

Garrick, J.A.F. 1959. Studies on New Zealand Elasmobranchii. Part IX — Scymnodon plunketi (Waite, 1910). An abundant deep-water shark of New Zealand waters. Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand 87(3,4): 271-282 figs 1-3.

Graham, K.J., Andrew, N.L. & Hodgson, K.E. 2001. Changes in the relative abundances of sharks and rays on Australian South East Fishery trawl grounds after twenty years of fishing. Marine and Freshwater Research 52: 549-561.

Irvine, S.B. 2004. Age, growth and reproduction of deepwater dogfishes from southeastern Australia, PhD Thesis. Deakin University, Australia 397 pp.

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs.

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

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

Stead, D.G. 1963. Sharks and Rays of Australian Seas. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 211 pp. 63 figs. (as Scymnodon plunketi)  

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. (as Centroscymnus plunketi)

Stewart, A.L. & Last, P.R. 2015. 26 Family Somniosidae, pp. 148-161 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. (eds) The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 2 pp. 1-576.

Thompson, E.F. 1930. New records of the genera Centrophorus and Hoplichthys in New Zealand. Records of the Canterbury Museum 3(4): 275-279 figs 42-44 (described as Centrophorus waitei)

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. [93] (as Centroscymnus plunketi)

White, W.T., Vaz, D.F.B., Ho, H.-C., Ebert, D.A., de Carvalho, M.R., Corrigan, S., Rochel, E., de Carvalho, M., Tanaka, S. & Naylor, G.J.P. 2015. Redescription of Symnodon ichiharai Yano and Tanaka 1984 (Squaliformes: Somniosidae) from the western North Pacific, with comments on the definition of somniosid genera. Ichthyological Research 62(2): 213–229, open access

Whitley, G.P. 1934. Notes on some Australian sharks. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 10(4): 180-200 figs 1-4 pls 27-29 (as Proscymnodon plunketi)

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. (as Proscymnodon waitei)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37020013

Biology:Viviparous (likely matrotrophic)

Conservation:IUCN Vulnerable

Depth:240-1550 m

Max Size:170 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map