Despite its name, the Elephant shark is a fascinating fish that is not actually shark, but a close relation of the ray family.
Elephant sharks can be easily recognised by the hoe-shaped structure on the snout. This unique species use their distinctive nose like a metal detector to search the sea floor for shellfish.
These mystical and unique creatures are iconic to the shallow waters of the Melbourne Peninsula and ordinarily reside well out of eyesight, 200 metres below sea level. The only exception to this rule is when they spawn and can be found in relatively shallow waters, which makes them easy to be caught by fishermen.
Elephant sharks also have a long spine located just in front of the first dorsal fin and is used to defend themselves against potential predators such as large fish species and sharks. While this spine serves as a means of protection, the Elephant shark is considered harmless to humans.
Elephant Shark Fast Facts:
- Common Name: Elephant Shark
- Scientific Name: Callorhynchus milii
- Habitat: Shallow waters of at least 200m
- Diet: Shellfish and molluscs
- Size: Up to 1.5m
- Range: Southern Australia
- Threats: Sharks and larger fish
- Conservation Status: Not assessed