IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

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epaulette shark
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Species - hemiscyllium ocellatum epaulette shark was discovered by Bonnaterre in 1788, Family – Hemiscylliidae, Classification - elasmobranchii, orectolobiformes, hemiscylliidae

Epaulette sharks are found in shallow waters of the Great Barrier Reef in the northeast corner of Australia to New Guinea. This species is a slender fish with an elongated and thick precaudal tail. The epaulette is easily identified by two large black spots surrounded by white above and slightly behind each pectoral fin. These sharks are small and are usually less than 1m. They use electroreception (detect electric fields) and olfaction (the sense of smell) to search for their prey. The species generally feeds at night in shallow tidal pools in and around coral reefs. These waters are often anoxic (low in oxygen) because these pools do not mix well with the surrounding seawater. The epaulette has adapted to live in these conditions and can remain without oxygen for up to an hour with no ill effects (11). The epaulette generally wriggles and walks when it is searching for its prey and lives off small benthic organisms (organisms living on the sea floor or just beneath the substrate) (6).


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