Another little known dogfish with long barbels and a long reproduction span

The Southern Mandarin dogfish (Cirrhigaleus australis) is a species of dogfish belonging to the family Squalidae. It was distinguished from the Mandarin dogfish in 2007 and described as its own species thanks to White, W.T., P.R. Last and J.D. Stevens. It can be found in south-eastern Australia and the Bay of Plenty region in New Zealand.


Family: Squalidae – Dogfish Sharks

Genus: Cirrhigaleus

Species: australis


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles



Common NameDogfish Sharks

Family– Squalidae

Common NameDogfish Sharks




Average Size and Length: They typically grow less than 3 feet; however, they are known to reach 4.1 feet in length.

Head: The Southern Mandarin dogfish has smaller eyes than the Mandarin dogfish. They have long barbels. The upper labial furrows are relatively short.

Denticles: The flank denticles have three primary cusps and the lateral cusps often with cusplets.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Southern Mandarin dogfish prefers the temperate waters in south-eastern Australia and from the Bay of Plenty region in New Zealand, at depths of 479-2,100 feet. They are considered pelagic-oceanic.

Aesthetic Identification: The Southern Mandarin dogfish is considered medium sized and robust in comparison to other sharks of its family. It is grey-brown dorsally and pale ventrally. The posterior margins of the pectoral and pelvic fins are white. The Southern Mandarin dogfish has smaller pectoral fins, dorsal fins, and spine than the Mandarin dogfish. The first dorsal fin is somewhat large and slightly raked. The second is similarly shaped, but a bit smaller and raked as well. The pectoral fins are fairly large. Both dorsal spines are long. The first dorsal spine’s apex is located just below apex of fin and the second dorsal spine’s apex is located at about level of fin apex.

Biology and Reproduction: The Southern Mandarin dogfish have about 114-115 centra along the back. There are 50 monospondylous centra and 85 precaudal centra. The Southern Mandarin dogfish has very low resilience, its population doubling only about every 14 years. They are thought to be ovoviviparous.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Unknown.

Southern Mandarin Dogfish Future and Conservation: In June 2018 the New Zealand Department of Conservation classified the southern Mandarin dogfish as “At Risk – Naturally Uncommon” with the qualifiers “Data Poor” and “Threatened Overseas” under the New Zealand Threat Classification System.

Southern Mandarin Dogfish Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.