Sharks and Rays of Australia

Hardback - February 2009 - AU $120.00

The classic reference, fully illustrated in colour with detailed species descriptions and location maps, now available in a magnificent second edition.

The waters around Australia are home to the greatest diversity of sharks and rays on Earth. Spookfish, numbfish, stingarees, fiddler rays and cookie-cutter sharks are just some of the 322 shark, ray and chimaerid species illustrated in the latest edition of Sharks and Rays of Australia. + Full description

Australia’s sharks, rays and chimaerids — collectively known as Chondrichthyans — are just as intriguing as their names suggest. Their eclectic colours, shapes and patterns reflect environments ranging from remote estuaries to ocean depths. Their new descriptions, and their striking portraits by watercolourist Roger Swainston, will help to guide the identification and conservation of these diverse species.

The first edition of Sharks and Rays of Australia was produced in 1994. Since then, 29 species have been discovered in Australian seas and more than 100 species have been named and formally described. As well as documenting these advances, the new edition includes updated species classifications and descriptions, distribution maps, line illustrations by Georgina Davis, family keys and outlines of Chondrichthyan biology and interactions with humans. The book catalogues a rich seam of Australia’s marine biodiversity, providing an indispensible compendium for scientists and a baseline reference for the fishing industry.

Sharks and Rays of Australia is an essential reference for professional and recreational fishermen, divers, naturalists, students, fish and conservation biologists, and anyone interested in sharks and rays.

- Short description


"Sharks and Rays of Australia is superbly illustrated in full colour, with clear, easy-to-follow keys and sufficient detail for each to species that identification by non-ichthyologists should be relatively straight forward.

All in all this is a superb book. Anyone interested in Australia’s fish (or fishing) will find it both useful and informative...a highly commendable contribution to the appreciation, understanding, and conservation of this group of fishes and I want to thank the editors, Peter Last and John Stevens, and CSIRO Publications for a job well-done."
Harry F Recher, Pacific Conservation Biology, Volume 17, No 1, 2011

"…an obligatory reference for those interested in the sharks and rays of the Southern Hemisphere. It is a great credit to their hard work that this new edition does not contain a single undescribed species. The colour plates (paintings) are stunning in their artistry and quality. I thought the first edition was excellent, but it is far surpassed by the second edition. I suggest users buy one quickly before this edition also sells out."
Malcolm Francis, New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Science, Vol 43, 2009


Hardback | February 2009 | $120.00
ISBN: 9780643094574 | 656 pages | 302 x 225 mm
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Colour illustrations, Colour Paintings, Line Art, Maps


  • The definitive reference to Class Chondrichthyes found in Australian waters
  • Brings 322 species (182 sharks, 125 rays and 15 chimaerids) to life
  • 300 full colour paintings in precise detail by Roger Swainston
  • 600 line illustrations by Georgina Davis
  • Updated family keys, species ranges and location maps


View the table of contents and introduction. View sample pages from Sharks and Rays of Australia.


Dr Peter Last is Curator of the Australian National Fish Collection, and a Senior Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Hobart. Dr Last specialises in the taxonomy, biogeography and systematics of the Australian fish fauna, and is a world authority on the taxonomy of sharks, skates and rays.

Dr John Stevens is a Senior Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Hobart. Dr Stevens has more than 30 years’ experience working on the systematics, biology, ecology, fisheries and conservation biology of chondrichthyan fishes (sharks, rays and chimaeras).