The Epaulette Shark (Hemiscyllium ocellatum) is a long-tailed carpet shark in the Hemiscyllidae family.
The Epaulette Shark is light brown with black spots. It has a large black spot behind each pectoral fin. It is called an eyespot because it looks like a large eye. The black spot has a white border. It has a long, slender body with paddle-shaped fins. At the tip of its nose it has a pair of small barbels (like whiskers). It has oval-shaped eyes.
It grows to about 70-90 centimetres (27-35 inches) long.
It is found in the shallow waters in coastal Australia and New Guinea.
The Epaulette Shark is nocturnal and lives in shallow waters in coral reefs or in tidal pools. It feeds on fish, crabs, and worms. Most sharks swallow their food whole, but the Epaulette Shark chews its food.
Its form of locomotion is ‘walking’ by wriggling its body along the bottom of the sea, instead of swimming.
It does not have bones. It has cartilage.
The Epaulette Shark is oviparous, which means that the female lays pairs of egg capsules, about 10 centimetres (4 inches) long and 4 centimetres (1.5 inches) wide, approximately every 14 days for 4-5 months each year. The young sharks hatch after 120-130 days.
Location of photographs: Canberra National Zoo and Aquarium, Australia, and New York Aquarium, America
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM