Gummy Shark, Mustelus antarcticus Günther 1870


Other Names: Australian Smooth Hound, Flake, Smooth Dog-shark, Sweet William, White-spotted Gummy Shark

A Gummy Shark, Mustelus antarcticus. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved

Summary:

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.

Video of Gummy Sharks in Point Cooke Marine Sanctuary, Port Phillip, Victoria


Cite this page as:

Will White & Dianne J. Bray, 2011, Gummy Shark, Mustelus antarcticus, in Fishes of Australia, accessed 31 May 2016, http://www.fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/3260

Gummy Shark, Mustelus antarcticus Günther 1870

More Info


Distribution

Endemic to southern Australia from southern Queensland to Shark Bay, Western Australia, including Tasmania. 
The Gummy Shark inhabits estuaries and coastal waters, usually in depths of 1-80 metres, although it has been recorded to 350 metres.

Features

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.

Colour

Grey to greyish-brown above, often with small white spots which may or may not be very conspicuous.

Feeding

Carnivore - feeds mostly on cephalopods and crustaceans, but also on bony fishes.

Biology

Aplacental viviparous (ovoviviparous) usually with litters of 14 pups, although large females may produce up to 40 young. 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. Individuals may live to 16 years.

Fisheries

Abundant and extremely important in southern Australian commercial shark fishery, 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.

Remarks

The common name "Gummy Shark" refers to the flattened teeth arranged in a mosaic pattern.

Similar Species

Very similar in appearance to Mustelus manazo which is found on Australia’s Northwest Shelf. Also similar to the New Zealand species Mustelus lenticulatus.

Species Citation

Mustelus antarcticus Günther, 1870, Cat. Fish. British Mus. 8: 387. Type locality: "Southern Pacific"  (= New South Wales or Tasmania).

Author

Will White & Dianne J. Bray

Gummy Shark, Mustelus antarcticus Günther 1870

References


Boomer, J.J., R.G. Harcourt, M.P. Francis, T.I. Walker, J.M. Braccini & A.J. Stow. 2013. Frequency of Multiple Paternity in Gummy Shark, Mustelus antarcticus, and Rig, Mustelus lenticulatus, and the Implications of Mate Encounter Rate, Postcopulatory Influences, and Reproductive Mode. Journal of Heredity (2013) doi: 10.1093/jhered/est010

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. Carcharhiniformes. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125. Rome : FAO Vol. 4(2) 251-655 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. Family Triakidae. pp. 1297-1304 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.

Gardner, M.G. & Ward, R.D. 1998. Population structure of the Australian gummy shark (Mustelus antarcticus Günther) inferred from allozymes, mitochondrial DNA and vertebral counts. Marine and Freshwater Research 49: 733–745.

Gardner, MG & Ward, RD. 2002. Taxonomic affinities within Australian and New Zealand Mustelus sharks inferred from allozymes, mitochondrial DNA and precaudal vertebrae counts. Copeia 2002(2): 356–363.

Grant, E.M. 2002. Guide to Fishes. Redcliffe : EM Grant Pty Ltd 880 pp.Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986.Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.

Kailola, P.J., Williams, M.J., Stewart, P.C., Reichelt, R.E., McNee, A. & Grieve, C. 1993. Australian Fisheries Resources. Canberra : Bureau of Resource Sciences and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation 422 pp.

Klages, J, Broad, A, Kelaher, BP & Davis, AR 2014. The influence of gummy sharks, Mustelus antarcticus, on observed fish assemblage structure, Environmental Biology of Fishes 97(2: 215-222.

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Crawford House Press. 437 p.

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland publishers. 433 p.

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.

Lenanton, R.C.J., Heald, D.I., Platell, M., Cliff, M. & Shaw, J. 1990. Aspects of the reproductive biology of the gummy shark, Mustelus antarcticus Günther, from waters off the south coast of Western Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 41: 807–822.

Macbeth, W.G., Vandenberg, M. & Graham, K.J. 2008. Identifying Sharks and Rays; a Guide for Commercial Fishers. Sydney : New South Wales Department of Primary Industry 71 pp.
Stead, D.G. 1963. Sharks and Rays of Australian Seas. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 211 pp. 63 figs.

MacDonald, C.M. 1988. Genetic variation, breeding structure and taxonomic status of the gummy shark Mustelus antarcticus in southern Australian waters. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 39: 641–648.

Moulton, PL, TI Walker & SR Saddlier. 1992. Age and growth studies of Gummy Shark, Mustelus antarcticus Gunther, and School Shark, Galeorhinus galeus (Linnaeus), from Southern Australian Waters. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 43(5): 1241-1267.

Punt, AE & Thompson. R. 2011. Gummy shark (Mustelus antarcticus) assessment based on data up to 2009, in GN Tuck (ed.) Stock assessment for the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery: 2010, part 1. Australian Fisheries Management Authority & CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Hobart, 294–328.

Shark Resource Assessment Group 2010, 2009 stock assessment report for gummy shark (Mustelus antarcticus), prepared for the South East Management Advisory Committee, Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra.​

Simpfendorfer, C. 1999. Management of shark fisheries in Western Australia. In: Case studies of management of elasmobranch fisheries. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper 378/1: 425–455.

Stevens, J.D. 1994. Families Carcharhinidae, Triakidae, Scyliorhinidae. pp. 120-138 figs 76-107 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.

Walker, T.I. 1992. A fishery simulation model for sharks applied to the gummy shark, Mustelus antarcticus Günther, from southern Australian waters. In: J.G. Pepperell (ed.) Sharks: Biology and Fisheries. Vol. 43. pp 195–212. (CSIRO Australia)

Walker, T.I. 1994. Stock assessments of the gummy shark, Mustelus antarcticus Günther, in Bass Strait and off South Australia. In: D.A. Hancock (ed.) Population Dynamics for Fisheries Management. 24–25 August 1993. Perth. 1. pp. 173–187. (Australian Government Printing Service: Canberra.)

Walker, TI. 2007. Spatial and temporal variation in the reproductive biology of gummy shark Mustelus antarcticus (Chondrichthyes: Triakidae) harvested off southern Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 58: 67–97.

Walker, TI. 2010. Population biology and dynamics of the gummy shark (Mustelus antarcticus) harvested off southern Australia, PhD thesis, University of Melbourne, Melbourne.

Walker, T.I. (SSG Australia & Oceania Regional Workshop, March 2003) 2003. Mustelus antarcticus. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 08 April 2012.

White, W.T. 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.

White, WT & Last, PR 2008, Description of two new species of gummy sharks, genus Mustelus (Carcharhiniformes: Triakidae), from Australian waters, in PR Last, WT White & JJ Pogonoski (eds), Descriptions of new Australian chondrichthyans, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Paper 22, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Canberra, 189–202.​

Whitley, G.P. 1940. The fishes of Australia. Part I. The sharks, rays, devil-fish, and other primitive fishes of Australia and New Zealand. Royal Zoological Society N.S.W., Australian Zoological Handbook: 1-280.

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37017001

Conservation:IUCN: Least Concern

Depth:1-350 m, usually to 80 m

Fishing:Commercial, recreational fish

Habitat:Bays, coastal waters

Max Size:185 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map