Colclough's Shark, Brachaelurus colcloughi Ogilby 1908

Other Names: Bluegray Carpet Shark, Bluegray Carpetshark, Bluegrey Carpet Shark, Blue-grey Cat Shark, Bluegrey Shark, Colcloughs Shark, Southern Blind Shark

Colclough's Shark, Brachaelurus colcloughi, on the Gold Coast, Queensland, November 2017. Source: Nigel Marsh / License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A rare greyish bottom-dwelling shark with a white underside and no pale spots on the body. Juveniles have black and white markings on back, dorsal fins and caudal fin, that fade with growth. This nocturnal bottom-dwelling shark has a broad flattened head, distinctive barbels projecting from each nostril and two dorsal fins close together towards the rear of the body.

Video of  Colclough's Shark in an aquarium.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Brachaelurus colcloughi in Fishes of Australia, accessed 28 Nov 2022,

Colclough's Shark, Brachaelurus colcloughi Ogilby 1908

More Info


Endemic to eastern Australia, from off Cape York to Julian Rocks, New South Wales. This nocturnal species shelters in caves and under ledges during the day, and forages at night.


A small stout to slender shark with a pair of long barbels each bearing an expanded, hooked or rounded posterior flap at its midlength, nostrils with nasoral grooves and circumnarial grooves, a short mouth ahead of the eyes, symphysial groove present on the chin, no dermal lobes on sides of head, large spiracles.
Head long, slightly flattened in adults, about 22% of total length, maximum head height 0.7 to 0.8 times head width; head narrowly arched, parabolic in dorsoventral view. Snout moderately long, prenarial snout about 2.5% and preoral snout about 5.4 to 6.0% TL; snout wedge-shaped in lateral view, with ventral surface of prenarial snout nearly horizontal. 
Eyes large and elongated-fusiform with length 2.4 to 2.5% TL in adults; eyes not elevated above level of head. Spiracle rounded, lateral and vertical on head, just behind eyes. Nostrils ventral and well behind snout tip; nasal barbel with an expanded, hooked or rounded posterior flap at its midlength. Anal-caudal space elongated, about equal to anal-fin inner margin. 
Denticles small and smooth.
Two spineless dorsal fins and an anal fin present; first dorsal fin larger than second, originating over the pelvic-fin bases; precaudal tail and caudal fin short. 
First dorsal-fin origin usually anterior to middle of pelvic-fin bases; apex anterior to insertion; free rear tip acutely angular. Second dorsal fin noticeably smaller than first and with height and base length less than 0.9 times first dorsal fin. Second dorsal-fin apex anterior to insertion; free rear tip acutely angular. Anal-fin origin about under midbase to second third of second dorsal fin; free rear tip just reaches lower caudal origin. 
Vertebrae (total) 117-120; precaudal vertebrae 69-73, monospondylous precaudal vertebrae 30-35, diplospondylous precaudal vertebrae 36-39.


Feeds mostly on fishes.


Reproductive mode - aplacental viviparous, with litter sizes of 6–7. Mature males have been observed from 61 cm TL, and mature females from 54.5 cm TL. Gravid females have been collected during winter months.


Taken as incidental inshore bycatch inn commercial fisheries, and also exploited at low levels for the marine aquarium trade.


Like the Blind Shark, Brachaelurus waddi, this species closes its eyes when removed from the water.

Similar Species

The closely-related Blind Shark, Brachaelurus waddi, has pale spots and flecks on the body, and a yellowish underside.

Species Citation

Brachaelurus colcloughi Ogilby 1908, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland 21: 4. Type locality: Mud Island, Moreton Bay, Queensland.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Colclough's Shark, Brachaelurus colcloughi Ogilby 1908


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. 2001. Sharks of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Bullhead, mackerel and carpet sharks (Heterodontiformes, Lamniformes and Orectolobiformes). Rome : FAO, FAO Species Catalogue for Fisheries Purposes No. 1 Vol. 2 269 pp. 

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

Compagno, L.J.V. & Niem, V.H. 1998. Families Squatinidae, Heterodontidae, Parascylliidae, Brachaeluridae, Orectolobidae, Hemiscylliidae. pp. 1235-1259 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 2 687-1396 pp. 

Daley, R.K., Stevens, J.D., Last, P.R. & Yearsley, G.K. 2002. Field Guide to Australian Sharks & Rays. Hobart : CSIRO Marine Research 84 pp. 

Goto, T. 2001. Comparative anatomy, phylogeny and cladistic classification of the order Orectolobiformes (Chondrichthyes, Elasmobranchi). Memoirs of the Graduate School of Fisheries Sciences, Hokkaido University 48(1): 1-100 

Grant, E.M. 1975. Guide to Fishes. Brisbane : Queensland Government, Co-ordinator General’s Department 640 pp. 

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

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3)

Kyne, P.M., Compagno, L.J.V., Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 2015. Brachaelurus colcloughi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T39335A68610594. Downloaded on 08 July 2019.

Kyne, P.M., Compagno, L.J.V., Stead, J., Jackson, M.V. & Bennett, M.B. 2011. Distribution, habitat and biology of a rare and threatened eastern Australian endemic shark: Colclough's shark, Brachaelurus colcloughi Ogilby, 1908. Marine and Freshwater Research 62: 540-547

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Canberra : CSIRO Australia 513 pp. 84 pls. 

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

Ogilby, J.D. 1908. On new genera and species of fishes. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland 21: 1-26 See ref at BHL

Regan, C.T. 1908. A new generic name for an orectolobid shark. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 8 2(59): 454-455 See ref at BHL

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.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37013013

Conservation:IUCN Vulnerable

Depth:6-100 m

Habitat:Reef associated, sandy areas

Max Size:76 cm TL


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CAAB distribution map