Prickly Dogfish, Oxynotus bruniensis (Ogilby 1893)

Other Names: Prickley Dogfish, Rough Shark

Prickly Dogfish, Oxynotus bruniensis. Source: Robin McPhee & Mark McGrouther / NORFANZ Founding Parties. License: All rights reserved

A small deep-sea shark covered in large extremely rough denticles - hence the common name. The body is deep, hump-backed and almost triangular in cross-section with a flattened underside, a small head with a short, blunt snout, and two sail-like dorsal fins, each preceded by a robust spine. Prickly Dogfish are uniformly greyish-brown with paler margins on the dorsal and caudal fins.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2024, Oxynotus bruniensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 Apr 2024,

Prickly Dogfish, Oxynotus bruniensis (Ogilby 1893)

More Info


Widespread in southern Australia from southern Queensland to the western part of the Great Australian Bight, Western Australia, including around Tasmania. The species also occurs in the Tasman Sea and throughout New Zealand. 


Vertebrae (precaudal) 58-63, (total) 87-94.
Body deep, hump-backed, nearly triangular in cross-section; prominent ridges between paired fins; denticles large, skin very rough and prickly; slot-like mouth, with very long labial furrows; lanceolate teeth in upper jaw, blade-like teeth in lower jaw. All five pairs of gill slits situated entirely anterior to pectoral fins; spiracles present.
Two large sail-like dorsal fins with spines; no anal fin; caudal fin heterocercal with indistinct lower lobe, subterminal notch present. Pectoral fins pointed.


Maximum size is about 72 cm TL (total length).


Carnivore. Finucci et al. (2016) found that Prickly Dogfish feed exclusively on the egg capsules of chimaeras.


Little is known of the biology. Prickly Dogfish are aplacental viviparous (ovoviviparous), and females appear to give birth to 7-8 young. The pups are born at a length of about 24 cm. Estimated size-at-maturity is 54·7 cm LT in males and 64·0 cm LT in females. Three gravid females (65·0, 67·5 and 71·2 cm LT) were observed, all with eight embryos. Size-at-birth was estimated to be 25–27 cm LT (Finucci et al. 2016). 


Taken incidentally as bycatch in in deepwater benthic trawl fisheries.


The species is named for Bruny Island, Tasmania, the type locality.

Species Citation

Centrina bruniensis, Ogilby 1893, Records of the Australian Museum 2(5): 62. Type locality: On the shore of Bruny Island, Tasmania, Australia.


Bray, D.J. 2024


Atlas of Living Australia

Prickly Dogfish, Oxynotus bruniensis (Ogilby 1893)


Amaoka, K., K. Matsuura, T. Inada, M. Takeda, H. Hatanaka & K. Okada (eds). 1990. Fishes collected by the R/V Shinkai Maru around New Zealand. Japan Marine Fishery Resource Research Center. 410 pp.

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

Cox, G. & Francis, M. 1997. Sharks and rays of New Zealand. Canterbury University Press, Christchurch.

Dunn MR, Stevens DW, Forman JS, Connell, A. 2013. Trophic Interactions and Distribution of Some Squaliforme Sharks, Including New Diet Descriptions for Deania calcea and Squalus acanthias. PLoS ONE 8(3): e59938.

Finucci, B., Bustamante, C., Jones, E.G. & Dunn, M.R. 2016. Reproductive biology and feeding habits of the prickly dogfish Oxynotus bruniensis. Journal of Fish Biology

Finucci, B. & Kyne, P.M. 2018. Oxynotus bruniensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T41840A68639645. Accessed on 02 April 2024.

Garrick, J.A.F. 1960. Studies on New Zealand Elasmobranchii. Part XI. Squaloids of the genera Deania, Etmopterus, Oxynotus and Dalatias in New Zealand waters. Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand 88(3): 489–517.

Glover, C.J.M. in Gomon, M.F., C.J.M. Glover & R.H. Kuiter (eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. 992 pp.

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

Last, P.R. & J.D. Stevens. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. CSIRO. 513 pp + plates.

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. 2nd ed. CSIRO Publishing, Australia. 644 pp.

Last, P.R., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. 2015. 28 Family Oxynotidae, pp. 166-167 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.

McCulloch, A.R. 1914. Report on some fishes obtained by the F.I.S. Endeavour on the coasts of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South and South-Western Australia. Part 2. Biological Results of the Fishing Experiments carried on by the F.I.S. Endeavour 1909-1914 2(3): 77-165 figs 1-15 pls 13-34

Morton, A. 1894. Description of a new species of shark. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 1893: 211-213 (as Centrina bruniensis, type locality washed up on the beach at Bruny island, Tasmania - description based on same specimen as Ogilby's holotype) See ref at BHL

Ogilby, J.D. 1893. Description of a new shark from the Tasmanian coast. Records of the Australian Museum 2(5): 62-63. See ref at BHL

Roberts, C.D. 1991. Fishes of the Chatham Islands, New Zealand: a trawl survey and summary of the ichthyofauna. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 25(1): 1-19. 

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

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.

Waite, E.R. 1907. A basic list of the fishes of New Zealand. Records of the Canterbury Museum 1(1): 1-39.

Waite, E.R. 1921. Illustrated catalogue of the fishes of South Australia. Records of the South Australian Museum (Adelaide) 2(1): 1-208 293 figs pl. 1

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.

Yano K. & K. Matsuura. 2002. A review of the genus Oxynotus (Squaliformes, oxynotidae). Bulletin of the National Science Museum, Tokyo, Series A 28(2): 109-117.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37021001

Conservation:IUCN Near Threatened

Depth:45-1120 m


Max Size:72 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map