Epaulette shark is a species of the Hemiscylliidae family. These species are mostly found the shallow and tropical waters of Australia and the New Guinea. This shark’s familiar name came from the extensive white margarine black spot behind each pectoral fin. This species’ small shark under 1 m or 3.3 ft long has a slender body with shark’s length. The epaulet shark has nocturnal habits and frequent shallow water on the coral reefs or tidal pools. Epaulet sharks are oviparous with females, depositing the pairs of egg capsules from August to December every 14 days. The epaulet sharks are most popular with the public and home aquaria due to their small size and hardness. The International Union for the conservation of Nature has accessed this hark as of least concern outside of the short aquarium trade, which is of little interest by the anglers.
Habitat and Distribution
The epaulet shark extends of New Guinea to the Northern coast of Australia from the southern coast. The Capricorn Bunker Group of the Great Barrier Reef, with thousands estimated to inhabit the reefs around the Heron Island alone, contains a substantial population. They love tidal pools, corals, and stands of staghorn coral. There are unsubstantiated reports of this species from Sumatra, Malaysia, and the Solomon Islands. These sharks are found in shallow water to a maximum depth of 50 m, which is nearly 160 ft, and often are seen in the water barely deep, which can cover their bodies entirely.
Facts about Epaulette shark
The tough place for any fish, even for sharks, is the great barrier reef. The high temperatures leave the reefs at the low tide as a series of rockpools and extreme waves. The Epaulette shark has an uncanny ability to walk. For the epaulet sharks, this is not a problem to survive 60 times longer without oxygen. Hence, this shark slows breathing, heart rate and power down the brain in such cases. The incredible changes mean that the epaulet shark has more time hunting on the reef before tides, and the more giant sharks move back in. This shark is truly the master of such intertidal environments.
Life History of Epaulette Shark
The courtship may be initiated by the female biting the male and following them. In aquarium readily, they breed, even in tanks as small as 135 gallons. The female drops the egg capsules at a time every 14 days. At first, the young’s growth rate is slow, but increasing to about 5 cm per year after three months. The maturity level rises at a length of 54 to 65 cm, corresponding to nearly seven years.
The epaulet sharks are opportunistic predators of the benthic crustaceans, small bony fishes, and worms. Over the 0% of epaulet sharks depends on the polychaete worms and crabs, and the juveniles taking mostly the adults and former latter. To form a flat surface for crushing hard-shelled prey, its teeth can be depressed. Unlike other giant sharks, the epaulet sharks may chew their food for at least up to 5 to 15 minutes.
They walk on the land
The epaulet sharks can walk on the land. Those the epaulet sharks can inhabit are shallow, complex, smooth, and coral reef systems. To capture this shark’s walking or moving movement, you have to use the evolutionary adaptations that have increased their range of motion and feet functionality in their pelvic and pectoral fins.
Taxonomy of Epaulette Shark
Originally, Bonnaterre described the epaulet sharks as Squalus ocellatus In 1788. Later, they have there changed this name to the currently valid expression, which is Hemiscyllium ocellatum. The Hemiscyllium, which was the genus name, was derived from the Greek word whose meaning is half, and skylla translated employing kind shark. One synonym, Squalus Bank & the Solander 1827, appeared in the past from scientific literature referring to this species.
Importance to Humans
This shark species is quite docile and easy to approach without the risks of injury. Due to its clumsy manner of movement over the bottom substrate and its presence for shallow water habits, beachcombers can easily catch this species. In the public aquarium facilities in the US, Canada, and Australia, it is of no interest to the recreational and commercial fishers.
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