A shark with many patterns and colors

The Variegated catshark (Asymbolus submaculatus) is a shark belonging to the family Scyliorhinidae, found off of western Australia. It is a small catshark with beautiful multi-colored blotches spots and saddles.


Family: Scyliorhinidae – Catsharks

Genus: Asymbolus

Species: submaculatus


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameGround Sharks

Family– Scyliorhinidae

Common NameCatsharks




Average Size and Length: They can reach up to 43 cm/1.4 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: The mouth is long and arched. There are short labial furrows along the jaws. The upper teeth are exposed, and they are large. The teeth are tricuspidate.

Head: The head is short and slightly rounded. The snout is short and thick. There are narrow ridges below the eyes.

Tail: The caudal fin is short and broad.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Variegated catshark is found in western Australia over the continental shelf down to 492 feet in caves and on ledges. They prefer temperate waters and are considered pelagic-oceanic.

Aesthetic Identification: The Variegated catshark is small and greyish-brown with numerous small black spots. There are darker irregular rusty-brown saddle-like blotches on the back, and bluish-grey blotches on the sides. There are small black and grey spots on the lower surfaces of the head, abdomen and the tail. The ventral side is mostly pale grey. The dorsal fins are close together with broadly rounded tips. The first dorsal fin base is close to the pelvic fin bases. The inner pelvic fin margins are fused into an apron over the claspers in adult males. The anal fin is short and angular.

Biology and Reproduction: Unknown, but more than likely oviparous.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: The Variegated catshark is nocturnal. They rest in caves and on ledges by day, and are active at night.

Variegated Catshark Future and Conservation: They are of least concern. They are rarely seen and are unlikely to be caught by fisheries.

Variegated Catshark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.