Common name: Bullhead Sharks, Horn Sharks, Hornsharks, Port Jackson Sharks


Bottom-dwelling shallow water sharks with two dorsal fins, each beginning with a large spine, an anal fin, a large head with distinctive ridges over the eyes and a small terminal mouth. The small sharp teeth at the front of the jaws differ markedly from the large crushing molars at the rear of the jaws - perfect for feeding on hard-shelled invertebrates.

Horn sharks are nocturnally active and feed on a range of benthic invertebrates. Females lay large spiral-shaped egg cases.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, 2012, Horn Sharks , HETERODONTIDAE, in Fishes of Australia, accessed 26 Nov 2015,

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Family Taxonomy

A small family found in the Indo-Pacific, with a single genus Heterodontus and nine species. Three species occur in Australian waters.

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Dianne J. Bray

Family Resources


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