Gummy Shark, Mustelus antarcticus Günther 1870
A Gummy Shark, Mustelus antarcticus. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved
A relatively small slender grey to greyish-brown shark, often with white spots scattered over the back. The Gummy Shark, along with the School Shark (Galeorhinus galeus) provides much of the 'flake' sold in fish and chips shops in southern Australia.
Gummy Shark, Mustelus antarcticus Günther 1870
Endemic to southern Australia from Port Stephens, New South Wales, to Geraldton, Western Australia, including Tasmania. Records from elsewhere may be based on other species.
The Gummy Shark inhabits estuaries, coastal and continental slope waters, usually at depths to 80 m, although the species has been recorded at a depth of 350 m.
Vertebrae 125–133 (79–86 precaudal); Jaw teeth (upper) 31-35 : 31-35; Jaw teeth (lower) 37-42 : 37-42
Body elongate; caudal peduncle without keels or precaudal pits; head slightly flattened above and below; snout moderately long, its tip bluntly pointed; nostrils not connected to mouth by a groove, internasal distance broad (2.6--3.2% TL); eyes oval; spiracles present; upper labial furrows noticeably longer than lower; teeth asymmetric, flattened, each with low primary cusp, arranged in pavement-like pattern; five gill slits, last two above pectoral fin.
Denticles on body lanceolate with 2-5 ridges which extend at least half distance to tips; low interdorsal ridge usually present.
Two dorsal fins, origin of first over inner corner of pectoral fin, origin of second dorsal anterior to anal-fin origin; caudal fin herterocercal, upper lobe with moderate sub-terminal notch, distal flap slightly enlarged, lower lobe of fin small; pectoral fin short, angular, hind margin slightly concave.
|Grey to greyish-brown above, often with small white spots which may or may not be very conspicuous.|
|Feeds mostly on cephalopods and crustaceans, but also on bony fishes.|
Female Gummy Sharks grow to a total length (TL) of 185 cm, and body mass of 24.8 kg; males to 148 cm TL and 13.5 kg.
The species is aplacental viviparous (ovoviviparous) usually with litters of 14 pups, although large females may produce up to 57 young per litter. The pups are born at 30–35 cm after an 11–12 month gestation period. Males mature at about 80 cm and females at about 85 cm. Tagging and ageing studies indicate that the maximum life span in 16 years.
|An abundant and extremely important species in the southern Australian commercial shark fishery, and marketed as flake. Gummy Sharks are harvested over their entire range, although about two-thirds of the catch is taken from Bass Strait. They are highly prized by sports fishers for their fighting abilities and the flesh is excellent eating.|
|The common name "Gummy Shark" refers to the flattened teeth arranged in a mosaic pattern.|
|Very similar in appearance to Mustelus manazo which is found on Australia’s Northwest Shelf. Also similar to the New Zealand species Mustelus lenticulatus.|
|Mustelus antarcticus Günther, 1870, Cat. Fish. British Mus. 8: 387. Type locality: "Southern Pacific" (= New South Wales or Tasmania).|
Bray, D.J. 2020
Gummy Shark, Mustelus antarcticus Günther 1870
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