Cirrhigaleus australis
Cirrhigaleus australis, also known as the Southern Mandarin Dogfish, is a species of Mandarin dogfish shark in the genus Cirrhigaleus
Cirrhigaleus is a genus of squaliform sharks in the family Squalidae.-Species:* Cirrhigaleus asper * Cirrhigaleus australis W. T. White, Last & Stevens, 2007...

. It was distinguished from Cirrhigaleus barbifer
Mandarin dogfish
The mandarin dogfish, Cirrhigaleus barbifer, is a dogfish, a member of the family Squalidae in the order Squaliformes. It is found at depths of off southern Japan, Taiwan, and Indonesia . Populations off Australia and New Zealand were formerly included in this species, but in 2007 these were...

, which lives in the North Pacific, on an expedition in the coral reef
Coral reef
Coral reefs are underwater structures made from calcium carbonate secreted by corals. Coral reefs are colonies of tiny living animals found in marine waters that contain few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups. The polyps...

s near Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 in 2007. It is now known to live in the temperate waters east of Australia and possibly around New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, at depths of 146-640 meters.

Physical characteristics

C. australis is medium-sized and robust compared to other dogfish. It is grey-brown above and pale below. The posterior margins of the pectoral and pelvic fins are white. This species of shark normally grow less than a meter long, but have been known to get to 1.25 meters. C. australis has smaller eyes, pectoral fins, dorsal fin
Dorsal fin
A dorsal fin is a fin located on the backs of various unrelated marine and freshwater vertebrates, including most fishes, marine mammals , and the ichthyosaurs...

s, and spine than its cousin. The first dorsal fin is medium-sized and slightly raked. The second is similarly shaped, but a bit smaller. The pectoral fins are fairly large. Both dorsal spines
Vertebral column
In human anatomy, the vertebral column is a column usually consisting of 24 articulating vertebrae, and 9 fused vertebrae in the sacrum and the coccyx. It is situated in the dorsal aspect of the torso, separated by intervertebral discs...

 are long. It also has strangely long barbels
Barbel (anatomy)
A barbel on a fish is a slender, whiskerlike tactile organ near the mouth. Fish that have barbels include the catfish, the carp, the goatfish, sturgeon, the zebrafish and some species of shark...

, giving it the name "Mandarin". There are about 115 centra along the back.

Scientists say the shark is harmless. Its defensive techniques are useless against many larger fish, and, as a consequence, it is very vulnerable to other sharks and fish. Also, C. australis has very low resilience, its population doubling only about every 14 years.


In 2007, a group of scientists from CSIRO
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation is the national government body for scientific research in Australia...

 spent some time searching the Eastern coast of Australia for new species. Along with the newly distinguished Cirrhigaleus australis, several hundreds of new marine species were discovered. Included were skate
Skates are cartilaginous fish belonging to the family Rajidae in the superorder Batoidea of rays. There are more than 200 described species in 27 genera. There are two subfamilies, Rajinae and Arhynchobatinae ....

s, sea star
Sea star
Starfish or sea stars are echinoderms belonging to the class Asteroidea. The names "starfish" and "sea star" essentially refer to members of the class Asteroidea...

s, coral
Corals are marine animals in class Anthozoa of phylum Cnidaria typically living in compact colonies of many identical individual "polyps". The group includes the important reef builders that inhabit tropical oceans and secrete calcium carbonate to form a hard skeleton.A coral "head" is a colony of...

s, bivalves
Bivalvia is a taxonomic class of marine and freshwater molluscs. This class includes clams, oysters, mussels, scallops, and many other families of molluscs that have two hinged shells...

, brachiopod
Brachiopods are a phylum of marine animals that have hard "valves" on the upper and lower surfaces, unlike the left and right arrangement in bivalve molluscs. Brachiopod valves are hinged at the rear end, while the front can be opened for feeding or closed for protection...

s, several types of marine arthropod
An arthropod is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton , a segmented body, and jointed appendages. Arthropods are members of the phylum Arthropoda , and include the insects, arachnids, crustaceans, and others...

s, and many others.

They conducted research in three outings, each three weeks long. Two outings were in the Great Barrier Reef
Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is the world'slargest reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometres over an area of approximately...

 on Lizard Island
Lizard Island National Park
Lizard Island is a national park on the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland , 1624 km northwest of Brisbane and part of the Lizard Island Group that also includes Palfrey Island.-Geology:...

 and Heron Island, and the third was in the Ningaloo Reef
Ningaloo Reef
Ningaloo Reef is a fringing coral reef located off the west coast of Australia, approximately 1200 km north of Perth. The reef is 260 km long and is Australia's largest fringing coral reef and the only large reef positioned very close to a landmass....

 on the northwest coast of Australia. In the Ningaloo Reef, many species were discovered, but no specimens of Cirrhigaleus australis were found. The expedition was a great success, and Australia now has more information on the marine flora
Flora is the plant life occurring in a particular region or time, generally the naturally occurring or indigenous—native plant life. The corresponding term for animals is fauna.-Etymology:...

 and fauna
Fauna or faunæ is all of the animal life of any particular region or time. The corresponding term for plants is flora.Zoologists and paleontologists use fauna to refer to a typical collection of animals found in a specific time or place, e.g. the "Sonoran Desert fauna" or the "Burgess shale fauna"...

 that dominate their coral reefs.

See also

  • Cirrhigaleus
    Cirrhigaleus is a genus of squaliform sharks in the family Squalidae.-Species:* Cirrhigaleus asper * Cirrhigaleus australis W. T. White, Last & Stevens, 2007...

  • Squalidae
    Squalidae is the family of dogfish sharks. They are found in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans, from tropical equatorial climates to the Arctic and Antarctic....

  • Squaliformes
    Squaliformes is an order of sharks that includes about 97 species in seven families.Members of the order have two dorsal fins, which usually possess spines, no anal fin or nictitating membrane, and five gill slits. In most other respects, however, they are quite variable in form and size...

  • Shark
    Sharks are a type of fish with a full cartilaginous skeleton and a highly streamlined body. The earliest known sharks date from more than 420 million years ago....

  • List of sharks
  • Cartilaginous Fish
    Chondrichthyes or cartilaginous fishes are jawed fish with paired fins, paired nares, scales, two-chambered hearts, and skeletons made of cartilage rather than bone...

  • Fish
    Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

External links

Note: When this species becomes widely known by its common name, the Southern Mandarin Dogfish, change page title and bold italic to its common name.

Note: When a picture of C. barbifer or C. australis appears in Commons, change the current picture.
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