Small But Mighty
Port Jackson Makes Its Debut
Monday was a weigh-in day for the Port Jackson shark (Heterodontus portusjacksoni) added June 1 to the Diversity Tank in the Science of Sharks exhibit.
The 9-month-old male shark is sometimes skittish and hard to handle, which he was Monday, so Aquarist 1 Anne McDonough could not get a proper weight measurement for him. But he is growing fast, according to Anne, since his Oct. 19, 2017, arrival from Oceanario de Lisboa, in Lisbon, Portugal, where he was born. He is the first of his species to be exhibited at the New England Aquarium on Central Wharf.
The Port Jackson shark joins a California hornshark, Japanese bullhead shark, California swellshark, and chain catshark in the 60-degree waters in the Diversity Tank.
The Port Jackson shark is part of the bullhead shark family, which is identifiable by pronounced eyebrow ridges and a spike on the dorsal fins. The shark is a nocturnal, egg-laying (oviparous) shark that can be found off the coast of Australia. It is a bottom-feeding (benthic) shark that eats mollusks, crustaceans, sea urchins, and fish in the wild. Its front teeth are small, sharp, and pointed (to hold and break) while the back teeth are blunt and flat (to crush and grind).
Here at Central Wharf, our Port Jackson shark eats shrimp and clams as it learns how to feed from a stick, said Anne, who added he is a bit of a slow learner and sometimes gets too excited to eat during feedings.