Scientific name: Mustelus antarcticus
Other names: Sweet William, Australian smooth hound, smooth dog-shark, white-spotted gummy shark
Description: Gummy sharks are a relatively small slender-bodied species with a short head. They are grey or grey-brown above and white below, with white spots on the back and upper sides. The second dorsal fin is nearly as large as the first dorsal fin. The mouth is short and angular with numerous rows of blunt, flattened teeth.
Size (length and weight): Up to 1.75 metres in length and 24.8 kg. Females grow larger than males.
Life span: Up to 16 years.
Habitat: Gummy sharks are a demersal species that inhabits the continental shelf from the near shore region to depths of 80-350 metres. They remain either on or near the sea bed. Newborn and juvenile gummy sharks aggregate in many areas across southern Australia, while young and adult gummy sharks are more widely distributed. Gummy sharks tend to aggregate by sex and size. Juvenile male and female gummy sharks have similar rates of movement, but females travel longer distances as their age increases.
Prey: Cephalopods, crustaceans, and occasionally fish.
Predators: Juveniles are known to be preyed on by broadnose sevengill sharks.
Reproduction: Gummy sharks reach reproductive maturity at 4-5 years of age, with males maturing at a smaller size than females. Females are ovoviviparous. Litters usually comprise of about 14 pups, but large females have been recorded producing up to 57 pups. Gummy shark are born during the summer months after an 11‑12 month gestation period.
Other notes: Growth in males is negligible after 10 years, whereas females continue to grow until the end of their lives.