8 Facts About The Epaulette Shark

  1. The Epaulette Shark is commonly referred to as the The Walking Shark because it “walks” on its pectoral and caudal fins along the ocean floor. It also climbs on rocks and even can walk on the surface.

2. The Epaulette Shark belongs to a group of fish called the Elasmobranchii fish.

3. The common name of this shark comes from the very large, white-margined black spot behind each pectoral fin, which are reminiscent of military epaulettes.

Epaulette Shark – Image Source: Matt Heyde

4. They are found in the shallow, tropical waters off of the coast of Australia and New Guinea. The species that is most commonly found off of the coast of Australia is the Hemiscyllium ocellatum and the species that is most commonly found off the coast of New Guinea is the Hemiscyllium hallstromi.

Juvenile Epaulette Shark – Image Source: Erica Fischer/Aquapparel.com

5. The Epaulette Shark has an ability called hypoxia. This ability allows them to with stand much higher temperatures than most other species of it’s kind. This allows them to withstand the surface temperatures while they are temporarily on land hunting or finding their way back to the water.

Amelia the Epaulette Shark with Matt Heyde – Image Source: Matt Heyde

6. The Walking Shark is is oviparous which means that the females develop eggs within their bodies and then deposit them so that they can hatch. They do this just about every 14 days from August to December. It takes approximately 130 days for the shark pup to fully develop and hatch.

Epaulette Shark in an egg case – Image Source: Erica Fischer/Aquapparel.com

7. There are ~440 known species of sharks. Of those 440 only about 20 or so need to swim in order to breathe. The rest, like the walking shark are buccal pumpers. In order to absorb oxygen from the water, the Epaulette Shark pulls the water in through it’s mouth and out it’s spiracle valve in order to allow the water to flow over it’s gills so that they can absorb the oxygen.

8. The Epaulette Shark reaches a maximum length of ~3.5 feet in length when full grown.

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