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Speckled Epaulette Shark

Threat Level:  low

 

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  • SPECKLED EPAULETTE SHARK

Scientific name............Hemiscyllium Trispeculare

Family name..............Hemiscylliidae

Other common names........Marbled catshark, speckled catshark

 

  • GENERAL DESCRIPTION

There are 13 species of carpet sharks that are subdivided into the epaulette sharks ( hemiscyllium ) and bamboosharks ( Chiloscyllium ). The speckled epaulette sharks are small and slender with very long tails, two equal-sized unspined dorsal fins, origin of second well ahead of origin of long, low rounded anal fin, which is separated by a notch from lower caudal fin. Small transverse mouth well in front of dorsolateral eyes, large spiracles below eyes, nasoral and circumnarial grooves, short barbels. They have spots or hood, nostrils at end of snout, and obvious ridges above eyes. They have strong, muscular, leg-like paired fins used to clamber on reefs and in crevices.

 

  • SIZE

Size at birth unknown. They mature at ( 22.4 inches ) and reported maximum length ( 31.1 inches ).

 

  • COLOR

They have small dark spots on snout, uniformly light under head. Large black epaulette spot with conspicuous white ring and two curved black marks around the posterior half partly surrounded by smaller black spots. Body and fins covered with numerous small and large dark spots separated by a reticular light network. No white spots. Dark saddles on back and tail extend around ventral surface. Color patterns of young often different and bolder than adults.

 

  • FEEDING HABITS

This shark feeds on small bottom fishes, cephalopods, shelled molluscs, and crustaceans. The large epaulette spots on this species may be eyespots to intimidate predators.

 

  • BEHAVIOUR

Poorly known. They appear to be more active at night.

 

  • HABITAT

Northern Australia, possibly Indonesia. They occur in coral reefs in shallow water ( often under table corals ) and in tide pools.

 

  • REPRODUCTION

Poorly known, presumably are oviparous, laying oval egg cases.

 

  • SHARK ATTACKS

They are a harmless species, that is shy of divers. They will seek cover if encountered and best observed after dark.

 

  • POPULATION REPORT

Often common to abundant, but some species are rare, with limited distribution in threatened habitats.

 

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