Hemigaleus australiensis 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Chondrichthyes Carcharhiniformes Hemigaleidae

Scientific Name: Hemigaleus australiensis
Species Authority: White, Last & Compagno, 2005
Common Name(s):
English Australian Weasel Shark
Hemigaleus microstoma Last & Stevens, 1994
Hemigaleus sp. A Compagno et al. 2005
Taxonomic Notes: Hemigaleus australiensis is described as having substantially lower vertebral counts, much higher tooth counts in lower jaw, and a black-tipped second dorsal fin (White et al. 2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2008-12-01
Assessor(s): Simpfendorfer, C., White, W.T., Quaranta, K.L. & Ebert, D.A.
Reviewer(s): Stevens, J.D., Valenti, S.V. & Fowler, S.L. (Shark Red List Authority)
Hemigaleus australiensis is commonly taken in prawn and fish trawl fisheries, and gillnet and longline fisheries, but never in particularly large numbers. This species is unlikely to be in any great threat due to the low level of fisheries through the majority of its range. This species is also relatively productive, with an average of 16 pups per year per female (based on two pregnancies per year) and thus likely to be able to withstand fishing pressure in this region. It is thus assessed as Least Concern globally.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Western Central Pacific: northern Australia and possibly Papua New Guinea (White et al. 2005).
Countries occurrence:
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – western central
Lower depth limit (metres): 170
Upper depth limit (metres): 1
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Not particularly common throughout its range. Appears to be naturally not abundant as with many other hemigaleids (White et al. 2005).
Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Hemigaleus australiensis is known from the insular and continental shelves of northern Australia from inshore bays to depths of 170 m. Males reach maturity at about 60 cm TL and females from 60–65 cm TL. Young are born at about 30 cm TL (White et al. 2005). Litter size is 1–19 (mean eight) with possibly two pregnancies per year thus a gestation of less than six months. A specialist feeder which feeds almost exclusively on cephalopods (White et al. 2005).
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): In northern Australia it is commonly taken in trawl fisheries, including those for prawns (including the Shark Bay, Exmouth Gulf, Gulf of Carpentaria and Queensland east coast fisheries) and fish (including the Pilbara trawl fishery) (Last and Stevens 1994, Simpfendorfer et al. 1999). In northern Australia it is also taken in gillnet and longline fisheries, but not in big numbers.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Northern Australian fisheries are typically well managed.

Citation: Simpfendorfer, C., White, W.T., Quaranta, K.L. & Ebert, D.A. 2009. Hemigaleus australiensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T161539A5446841. . Downloaded on 29 May 2016.
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