When most people think of sharks they think of big teeth and slick fast swimming animals, I guess the film ‘Jaws’ is in Mind. The Port Jackson shark (Pjs) certainly does not fit this stereo type. They look shy and cute, not your typical heart stopping scary shark. It’s no wonder scuba divers look forward to their return every winter.
The Port Jackson Sharks has a blunt head and harness-like markings which cross the eyes, run along the back to the first dorsal fin, then cross the side of the body. This pattern makes it very easy to identify the species. Pjs can grow to a length of 1.65m. But more commonly the males are about 75cm and the females are usually 80-95cm.
The PJ has 5-gill slits and it is able to do a pretty nifty thing with its gills. A PJ can pump water into its first enlarged gill slit and out through the other four-gill slits. This enables it to lie on the bottom for long periods of time without moving. Most other sharks have to swim with their mouths open to forces water over the gills. The PJ has no need to do this. It is the perfect couch potato of the shark world.
As these cute sharks are only found around the colder months you must be sure to come for a dive around May to August. On regular shore dives to sites such as Bare Island or Cape Solander you can see heaps of these cute little sharks.