Common name: Varied Carpet Shark

Scientific name: Parascyllium variolatum

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Chondrichthyes

Order: Orectolobiformes

Family: Parascyllidae

Genus: Parascyllium

Species: P. variolatum


Parascyllium variolatum is otherwise known as a varied carpet shark. Carpet sharks can range in size anywhere from 13.6 to 38.8 inches. The carpet shark has a distinctive black "collar" around it's neck.  It is hard for people to get them mixed up with other kinds of sharks because of the dense pattern of small white dots around the neck. It also has prominent nasoral grooves, two dorsal fins, and anal fin. They also include subterminal mouths and nasal barbels.


This type of shark lives in marine waters and is found in shallow waters of the continental shelves. The shark is a bottom dweller and lives in rocky areas or coral reefs. It lies motionless during the daylight, undetected. The varied carpet shark is more active at night but not so much during the day. During the day these sluggish bottom-dweller sharks usually hide under the bottom of rocks or in the coral heads. The varied carpet shark usually relies on camouflage and which makes it easy to approach. When the shark is attacked or handled, it will thrash very wildly and it shakes and twists with surprising strength and throws it hard head like a club.


Varied carpet sharks are located on the coasts of all the southern states of Australia. Like most sharks, our understanding on how they do well in their ecosystem is not known. If the varied carpet shark was removed from the ecosystem we will not know the effects. This species population size and range with no scientific data that isn't currently available is little to be known. Since the carpet sharks population is unknown, scientists do not know if the species is increasing or decreasing. They are not endangered animals and they are no harm to humans. The varied carpet shark and other orectolobiformes are known as carnivores.

They feed on other invertebrates and small fishes. This order of orectolobiformes are unknown on how they compete and what allows them to compete for food. The varied carpet sharks predator is another shark known as the carcharhinid shark. Research shows that it is unknown on how the varied carpet shark is able to evade not being eaten. This animal is unique because not too many facts about these animals are known. The varied carpet shark has many relatives including the necklace carpet shark, collared carpet shark, and the rusty carpet shark.

Author: Lawrence F
Published: 02/2009



Photo Credit: Doug Perrine