The northern river shark (Glyphis sp. C) in Western Australia
Report to the Natural Heritage Trust
D.C. Thorburn, D.L. Morgan, A.J. Rowland and H.S. Gill
About the report
While many of the - 166 shark species that inhabit Australian waters (Last and Stevens 1994) are known to penetrate estuaries (Last 2002), only the bull shark Carcharhinus leucas, speartooth shark (or Bizant River Shark) Glyphis sp. A and northern river shark Glyphis sp. C occur in oligohaline environments of the upper reaches of rivers far from the coast (Thorburn et al. 2003). Until recently, Glyphis sp. A and Glyphis sp. C were known in Australia from approximately 25 records collected from a few freshwater or weakly saline riverine habitats in the Northern Territory and Queensland (Compagno and Niem 1998, Larson 2000, Last 2002, Thorburn et al. 2003).
There is also anecdotal evidence to suggest that members of this genus occur in marine coastal habitats of Van Diemens Gulf and the Wessel Islands (Arnhem Land). Furthermore in 2002, one Glyphis sp. C was collected from the macrotidal Doctors Creek, a macrotidal mangrove habitat in King Sound near the Kimberley town of Derby, Western Australia. This is approximately 1500 kilometres (following the shortest distance along coast) from its nearest previously known locality in the Adelaide River (Northern Territory), and thus represents a significant range extension for the species.