Speckled Epaulette Shark
Scientific name............Hemiscyllium Trispeculare
Other common names........Marbled catshark, speckled catshark
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 at birth unknown. They mature at ( 22.4 inches ) and reported
maximum length ( 31.1 inches ).
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.
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.
Poorly known. They appear to be more active at night.
Northern Australia, possibly Indonesia. They occur in coral reefs in
shallow water ( often under table corals ) and in tide pools.
Poorly known, presumably are oviparous, laying oval egg cases.
They are a harmless species, that is shy of divers. They will seek
cover if encountered and best observed after dark.
Often common to abundant, but some species are rare, with limited
distribution in threatened habitats.