Rusty Carpetshark, Parascyllium ferrugineum McCulloch 1911

Other Names: Rusty Carpet Shark, Rusty Cat Shark, Rusty Catshark, Rusty Shark, Spotted Shark, Tasmanian Carpet Shark, Tasmanian Carpetshark, Tasmanian Spotted Cat Shark, Tasmanian Spotted Catshark, Tasmanian Spotted Shark

Rusty Carpetshark, Parascyllium ferrugineum. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved

A slender greyish-brown catshark with a pale underside, 6-7 slightly darker rusty brown saddles along the back, the first at the gill openings, and small dark brown to blackish spots on the head, body and fins, including more than 6 spots on the side between the dorsal fins.
This nocturnal shark is rarely seen by divers.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Parascyllium ferrugineum in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 Mar 2023,

Rusty Carpetshark, Parascyllium ferrugineum McCulloch 1911

More Info


Southern Australia from eastern Victoria, to Albany, Western Australia (and possibly further west to Busselton), including Tasmania. Inhabits sand flats, seagrass and macroalgal beds near rocky reefs, in river mouths, and offshore waters at depths to about 150 m. Individuals may shelter in  caves and beneath ledges during the day.


Teeth slender, triangular, sometimes with low rounded cusps on either side of base; each jaw with about 5-7 functional rows of teeth. 


Feeds on benthic crustaceans and molluscs.


During summer months, females lay yellow egg cases with long tendrils. Pups are about 17 cmTL at births and males mature at 71 cmTL.


Occasionally taken and discarded bycatch of trawl and Danish seine vessels.


The specific name is from the Latin ferrugineum (= rust-coloured, ferruginous) possibly in reference to the brown saddles along the back of this species.

Species Citation

Parascyllium ferrugineum McCulloch 1911, Zool. Results. Endeavour 1(1): 7, pl. 2(2) text, fig. 2. Type  locality: outside Port Phillip Heads, Victoria.


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Rusty Carpetshark, Parascyllium ferrugineum McCulloch 1911


Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 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. 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.

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,

Goto, T. & Last, P.R. 2002. A new parascylliid species, Parascyllium sparsimaculatum, from Western Australia (Elasmobranchii: Orectolobiformes). Ichthyological Research 49(1): 15-20,

Heupel, M.R. 2016. Parascyllium ferrugineum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T41842A68639939. Downloaded on 13 July 2017.

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp. 

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. 

Kuiter, R.H. & Kuiter, S.L. 2018. Fish watchers guide to coastal sea-fishes of south-eastern Australia. Seaford, Victoria : Aquatic Photographics, 371 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. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Canberra : CSIRO Australia 513 pp. 84 pls. 

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 2008. Parascyllium elongatum sp. nov, a new collared carpetshark (Orectolobiformes: Parascylliidae) from southwestern Australia. pp. 35-38 in Last, P.R., White, W.T. & Pogonoski, J.J. (eds). Descriptions of new Australian chondrichthyans. CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Paper No. 022: 1-358

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

McCulloch, A.R. 1911. Report on the fishes obtained by the F.I.S. Endeavour on the coasts of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. Part 1. Zoological (Biological) Results. Endeavour 1(1): 1-87 figs 1-20 pls 1-16 See ref at BHL

Scott, E.O.G. 1935. Observations on some Tasmanian fishes. Part 2. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 1934: 63-73 fig. 5 (described as Parascyllium multimaculatum) See ref online

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

Walker, T.I. & Gason, A.S. 2007. Shark and other chondrichthyan byproduct and bycatch estimation in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery. Final report to Fisheries and Research Development Corporation Project No. 2001/007. July 2007. vi + 182 pp. Primary Industries Research Victoria, Queenscliff, Victoria, Australia.

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. 1939. Taxonomic notes on sharks and rays. The Australian Zoologist 9(3): 227-262 figs 1-18 pls 20-22 

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:37013005

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:5-150 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:80 cm TL


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CAAB distribution map