Hemiscyllium ocellatum (Bonnaterre, 1788)
Epaulette shark
Hemiscyllium ocellatum
photo by FAO

Family:  Hemiscylliidae (Bamboo sharks)
Max. size:  107 cm TL (male/unsexed)
Environment:  reef-associated; marine; depth range 0 - 50 m
Distribution:  Western Pacific: New Guinea and northern Australia. Possibly occurring in Malaysia, Sumatra (Indonesia), and the Solomon Islands.
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 0-0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 0-0; Anal spines: 0-0; Anal soft rays: 0-0. Caudal fin with a pronounced subterminal notch but without a ventral lobe (Ref. 13575). Lateral ocellus not surrounded by large spots; spots present on head in front and below eyes (Ref. 13575).
Biology:  Commonly found in shallow water of coral reefs (Ref. 6871). Often in tide pools (Ref. 13575). Feeds mainly on benthic invertebrates (Ref. 6871). Oviparous (Ref. 50449). Squirms when captured but cannot readily escape (Ref. 247). Survives well in aquariums (Ref. 6871). Has the ability to survive low oxygen conditions by switching of non-essential brain functions; apparently an adaption for hunting in tide-pools with low oxygen (Ref. 52022).
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 18 February 2015 Ref. (124695)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:   

Entered by: Carpenter, Kent E. - 15.06.92
Modified by: Kesner-Reyes, Kathleen - 17.06.05
Checked by: Garilao, Cristina V. - 25.06.97

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