A rare catshark easily mistaken for other members of its genus

The Northern Draughtboard swellshark (Cephaloscyllium sp. C), is a species of catshark belonging to the family Scyliorhinidae. The Northern Draughtboard swellshark is often confused with the Saddled swellshark (Cephaloscyllium variegatum), but they are in fact separate species. The range of the Northern Draughtboard swellshark is restricted to a very limited area of eastern Australia. The color pattern between the two sharks is the most noticeable difference.


Family: Scyliorhinidae – Catsharks

Genus: Cephaloscyllium 

Species: sp. C


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Scyliorhinidae

Common NameCatsharks


Speciessp. C


Average Size and Length: Each egg case measures 7×4 cm. They reach at least 65 cm/2.1 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: They have a large, arched mouth.

Head: The head is short, broad and flattened. The snout is broadly rounded. There are ridges over the eyes. The eyes are cat-like in appearance and are positioned high on the head, followed by spiracles.

Tail: The caudal fin is deep, with a distinct lower lobe and a strong ventral notch near the tip of the upper lobe.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Northern Draughtboard swellshark can be found in eastern Australia on the outer continental shelf between 295-459 feet.

Ram-Suction Index: More than likely high on the suction side of the index.

Aesthetic Identification: The Northern Draughtboard Swellshark is dark greyish-brown, medium-sized and slender. It has indistinct darker saddles and blotches, covered with whiteish blotches and flecks extending onto the fins. There is no dark stripe along the belly. Juveniles are paler with small widely-spaced spots. The first dorsal fin originates over the pelvic fins and is much larger than the second dorsal fin. The second dorsal fin originates over the anal fin. They have inflatable stomachs.

One noticeable difference between the Northern Draughtboard swellshark and the Saddled swellshark is the pattern of blotches, saddles and smaller whiteish blotches.

Biology and Reproduction: They are oviparous, but mostly unknown.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Like other members of its genus the Northern Draughtboard swellshark can inflate its stomach with water (or air on land) in an effort to deter predators.

Speed: More than likely sluggish and slow.

Northern Draughtboard Swellshark Future and Conservation: They are near threatened. They are rarely recorded and have a very limited range that is heavily trawled.

Northern Draughtboard Swellshark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.