Crested Bullhead Shark
Crested Bullhead Shark






The Crested Bullhead Shark is an uncommon species of bullhead shark, family Heterodontidae. The  International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has assessed this harmless shark as of Least Concern; it is of no economic interest and suffers minimal mortality from bycatch, recreational fishing, and shark nets.


The head of the crested bullhead shark is short and wide, with a blunt, pig-like snout. The eyes are placed high on the head and lack nictitating membranes. The supraorbital ridges above the eyes of this species are larger than any other member of its family. The nostrils are separated into incurrent and excurrent openings by a long flap of skin that reaches the mouth. A furrow encircles the incurrent opening and another furrow runs from the excurrent opening to the mouth, which is located nearly at the tip of the snout. The teeth at the front of the jaws are small and pointed with a central cusp and two lateral cusplets, while those at the back of the jaws are wide and molar-like. There are deep furrows at the corners of the mouth, extending onto both jaws.

The pectoral fins are large and rounded, while the pelvic and anal fins are smaller and more angular. The first dorsal fin is moderately tall with a rounded to angular apex and a stout spine on the leading margin, originating behind the pectoral fins. The second dorsal fin resembles the first and is almost as large, and is located between the pelvic and anal fins. The caudal fin is broad, with a strong ventral notch near the tip of the upper lobe. The dermal denticles are large and rough, especially on the flanks. The coloration consists of five brown to black, diffusely edged saddles on a light tan background. There are dark marks on top of the head between the crests and below each eye.


Bottom-dwelling in nature, the crested bullhead shark is found over the continental shelf from the intertidal zone to a depth of 93 m (305 ft), being more common in deeper waters. It prefers rocky reefs, mats of seaweed, and seagrass beds.


It feeds primarily on the sea urchins Centrostephanus rodgersii and Heliocardis erythrogramma, but has also been known to take a variety of other invertebrates and small fishes.