Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Very little is known about the biology of the Indonesian speckled carpet shark (4). During the day it hides in coral crevices or under overhangs; at night the carpet shark becomes more active, and can be found using its pectoral fins to 'walk' along the sea bottom, hunting prey such as bony fishes and invertebrates (3).
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Description

The beautifully patterned skin of this shark has a remarkable resemblance to the coat of a leopard. Rust-brown hexagonal spots, with paler centres, are closely packed over the body. Smaller dark spots cover the snout, and large, dark 'epaulettes' (shoulder patches) are situated just behind the pectoral fins. The two dorsal fins and the anal fin are placed far back on the extremely long, thick tail (2) (3).
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Comprehensive Description

Biology

A little-known bottom shark, probably common on coral reefs (Ref. 247). Oviparous (Ref. 50449).
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Distribution

Range Description

The Indonesian Speckled Carpet Shark (Hemiscyllium freycineti) appears to be restricted to the Indonesian province of Papua Barat (West Papua), around the western peninsula of the island of New Guinea in the Western Central Pacific. Previous to the description of H. michaeli it was considered to occur more widely around New Guinea, but H. freycineti is now considered to be restricted to western New Guinea, and H. michaeli to eastern New Guinea (Allen and Dudgeon 2010).
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Western Central Pacific: Irian Jaya, Waigeo (Indonesia) and Papua New Guinea.
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Western New Guinea.
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Range

Occurs in the western South Pacific, around New Guinea (2).
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 0; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 0
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Size

Max. size

46.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 247))
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Diagnostic Description

Caudal fin with a pronounced subterminal notch but without a ventral lobe (Ref. 13575). Black spot behind gills small, not in the form of a conspicuous ocellus (Ref. 13575).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology

The Indonesian Speckled Carpet Shark occurs in shallow waters on coral reefs, and sandy and grassy substrates, but its exact depth range is unknown. The biology of this species is almost entirely unknown, although like other Hemiscyllium species, it is certainly oviparous. The smallest juvenile specimen known measures 21.4 cm total length (TL), and so size at birth is below this figure. The largest specimen examined by Allen and Dudgeon (2010) was 66.3 cm TL, but maximum size is unknown; a maximum size of 72 cm TL reported by Compagno (2001) may be for either H. freycineti or H. michaeli.


Systems
  • Marine
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Environment

reef-associated; marine; depth range 0 - 50 m (Ref. 54463)
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The Indonesian speckled carpet shark inhabits shallow water over coral reefs, sand and beds of seagrass (4)
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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Oviparous, paired eggs are laid. Embryos feed solely on yolk (Ref. 50449).
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
NT
Near Threatened

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2011

Assessor/s
Kyne, P.M. & Heupel, M.R.

Reviewer/s
Carlson, J. & Dulvy, N.

Contributor/s

Justification
The Indonesian Speckled Carpet Shark (Hemiscyllium freycineti) is a poorly known species from New Guinea which has a very restricted range in the Indonesian province of Papua Barat (West Papua). Previous to the recent description of H. michaeli it was considered to occur more widely around New Guinea, but the Indonesian Speckled Carpet Shark is now considered to be restricted to western New Guinea, and H. michaeli to eastern New Guinea. This species was assessed as that wider ranging species in 2003 (with an assessment of Near Threatened). This is an update of the species’ assessment, given the taxonomic change which has resulted in a much more restricted distribution than was previously thought.

Little is known about the population size of the species and no scientific data are currently available. The Indonesian Speckled Carpet Shark occurs in shallow waters on coral reefs, and sandy and grassy substrates, but its exact distribution, habitat preferences, as well as its biology are poorly known. Threats currently affecting this species are also unclear but given that it is a very attractive and hardy species it may be sought for the aquarium trade. Given its habitat, this species is very susceptible to habitat destruction via dynamite fishing practices, but the extent of habitat destruction within its range is uncertain. The impacts of other fishing activities on this species are also unknown, but fishing pressure in shallow inshore environments (including shallow reefs where this species occurs) can be very significant in eastern Indonesia. Illegal fishing activities also pose a threat within the habitat of this species, and illegal fishing (which includes trawling) is an on-going issue within Indonesian waters. There is an urgent need to obtain the data required to accurately assess the species’ conservation status. As a precautionary measure, an assessment of Near Threatened is retained for the species (nearly meeting criteria A4cd; B1ab(iii) for Vulnerable), but with more information it may indeed fall within a higher category, given its restricted range and potential threats acting in the region.
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Status

Classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1).
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Population

Population
Little is known about the population size of the Indonesian Speckled Carpet Shark and no scientific data are currently available.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats

Threats currently affecting the Indonesian Speckled Carpet Shark are unclear. Given that it is a very attractive and hardy species it may be sought for the aquarium trade. This species is very susceptible to habitat destruction via dynamite fishing practices. However, there is a lack of information on the extent of habitat degradation within its range (not only from destructive fishing methods, but also from pollution; heavy pollutant loads from mining activities are an issue within the region). The impacts of fishing activities on this species are also unknown, but fishing pressure in shallow inshore environments (including shallow reefs where this species occurs) can be significant in eastern Indonesia. Illegal fishing activities also pose a threat within the habitat of this species, and illegal fishing (which includes trawling) is an on-going issue within Indonesian waters.

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Near Threatened (NT)
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The Indonesian speckled carpet shark has a restricted range, in which its habitat is being impacted by a number of human activities. Destructive fishing practices, such as dynamite and poison fisheries, are destroying coral reefs in the region, and parts of the Arafura Sea where the Indonesian speckled carpet shark occurs, are also subject to heavy trawling which devastates sea bottom habitats. This shark may also be threatened by pollution from mining, as mining waste is dumped into rivers which then empty into the ocean (2) (5). It is possible that the Indonesian speckled carpet shark may also be threatened by exploitation for the aquarium industry, as it makes an attractive display species (5).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions

There are no conservation actions currently in place for the Indonesian Speckled Carpet Shark. The development of ecotourism activities centered on the exceptional diversity of marine life in Papua Barat may provide impetus for the protection of this species’ habitat. Based on the restricted distribution of this species and its poorly known status, there is an urgent need to obtain the data required to accurately assess the species’ conservation status. In particular, surveys should be undertaken to determine its full distribution, habitat preferences, basic aspects of its biology, and its occurrence in the aquarium trade. An examination of other potentially threatening processes is also needed.

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Conservation

At present there are no known conservation measures in place for the Indonesian speckled carpet shark (1).
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: minor commercial; price category: unknown; price reliability:
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Wikipedia

Indonesian speckled carpetshark

The Indonesian speckled carpetshark, Hemiscyllium freycineti, is a species of bamboo shark in the family Hemiscylliidae. It is found in the shallow ocean around the Raja Ampat Islands in West Papua, Indonesia, but was formerly believed to be more widespread. This was due to confusion with H. michaeli, a species described from eastern Papua New Guinea in 2010.[1][2] Compared to that species, the spots on H. freycineti are smaller, more rounded or slightly elongated in shape (versus relatively large, edged and more leopard-like in H. michaeli), and tend to darken at regular intervals forming 8-9 vertical bars on the body and tail. Furthermore, the large black spot behind the pectoral fin is more clearly defined in H. michaeli than in H. freycineti.[1][2] Confusingly, some books with illustrations and photos labelled as H. freycineti actually show H. michaeli.[1][2]

H. freycineti reaches a length is up to 46 centimetres (18 in).[3] It is nocturnal, hiding in reef crevices during the day.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Michael, S. (May 16, 2008). Will the real Hemiscyllium freycineti please stand up?
  2. ^ a b c Allen & Dudgeon (2010). "Hemiscyllium michaeli, a new species of Bamboo Shark (Hemiscyllidae) from Papua New Guinea". Aqua International Journal of Ichthyology 16 (1): 19–30. 
  3. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2006). "Hemiscyllium freycineti" in FishBase. July 2006 version.
  4. ^ Compagno, Dando, & Fowler (2005). Sharks of the World. Princeton University Press, New Jersey. ISBN 0-691-12072-2
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