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.
Life History and Behavior
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
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.
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.
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.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
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. 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. Confusingly, some books with illustrations and photos labelled as H. freycineti actually show H. michaeli.
- Michael, S. (May 16, 2008). Will the real Hemiscyllium freycineti please stand up?
- 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.
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2006). "Hemiscyllium freycineti" in FishBase. July 2006 version.
- Compagno, Dando, & Fowler (2005). Sharks of the World. Princeton University Press, New Jersey. ISBN 0-691-12072-2