Morphology Data of Hemiscyllium michaeli
Identification keys
Main Ref. Allen, G.R. and C.L. Dudgeon, 2010
Appearance refers to
Bones in OsteoBase

Sex attributes

Specialized organs
Different appearance
Different colors

Descriptive characteristics of juvenile and adult

Striking features
Body shape lateral elongated
Cross section
Dorsal head profile
Type of eyes
Type of mouth/snout
Position of mouth
Type of scales placoid scales

The species was previously confused with H. freycineti, which is restricted to Papua Barat Province (western New Guinea), Indonesia. The two species differ primarily in colour pattern, which provides the best means of separating the various members of the genus. Both species have a profuse covering of brown spots with a large black or brown ocellated marking on the middle of the side, just behind the head. The spots of H. michaeli are generally denser, larger, and distinctly polygonal, remarkably similar to the spots of a leopard. In contrast those of H. freycineti are round to transversely elongate and are darkened at regular intervals to form 8-9 bars or saddle-like markings (including those on the tail). The difference in spot pattern between the two species is particularly evident in the head region. In addition, H. michaeli possesses a vivid ocellate black spot behind the head, whereas the black spot of H. freycineti is generally not well defined. Comparison of the mitochondrial ND4 gene also supports the species-level separation of these species.

Ease of Identification

Meristic characteristics of Hemiscyllium michaeli

Lateral Lines Interrupted: No
Scales on lateral line
Pored lateral line scales
Scales in lateral series
Scale rows above lateral line
Scale rows below lateral line
Scales around caudal peduncle
Gill clefts (sharks/rays only)
Gill rakers
on lower limb
on upper limb


Dorsal fin(s)

Fins number
Finlets No. Dorsal   
Spines total
Soft-rays total
Adipose fin

Caudal fin


Anal fin(s)

Fins number
Spines total
Soft-rays total

Paired fins

Pectoral Attributes  
Pelvics Attributes  
Main Ref. (e.g. 9948)
Glossary ( e.g. cephalopods )
Entered by Busson, Frédéric
Modified by Bailly, Nicolas
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