Draughtboard shark

Draughtboard shark
Image: Mark Norman / Museum Victoria
Community type

Reef fish

Habitat type

Rocky reefs, kelp beds and inter-tidal zone

The draughtboard shark is a bottom dwelling species growing to 1.5 m in length. Its name comes from the patchwork blotches on its back, which provides good camouflage against the brown seaweed and blotchy coloured sediment of the Derwent estuary. It is also known as a swellshark, as it can pump itself up with water or air when threatened, like a pufferfish! They have flat tile-like teeth used for crushing shellfish and sea urchins, but they also eat small fish, squid and lobsters. Draughtboard sharks lay small purse-like egg cases covered in regular ridges, with curled strings trailing off its four corners. The eggs cases tangle among the roots of seagrasses and algae, where the sharks leave them to develop on their own.

Much of the text within the species area of our website was written by Veronica Thorpe, as part of the Derwent River Wildlife Guide (2000).

The DEP has developed a variety of classroom and outdoor activities focused around the key estuary habitats of tidal wetlands, salt marshes and rocky reefs. These include classroom materials, online resources, interpretive walks, games and sensory experiences.