Epaulette Shark, Hemiscyllium ocellatum (Bonnaterre 1788)


Other Names: Blind Shark, Itar Shark

An Epaulette Shark, Hemiscyllium ocellatum, at North West Island, southern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, November 2014. Source: Sascha Schultz / iNaturalist.org. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

Summary:
This small slender shark with a large black ocellus on the shoulder and irregular spots on the body is often seen foraging over reef flats.
Very cute video of a baby Epaulette Shark hatching from its egg capsule.
An Epaulette Shark hunting at low tide in the lagoon at Lady Elliot Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland.
Epaulette Sharks in an aquarium.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Hemiscyllium ocellatum in Fishes of Australia, accessed 15 Dec 2018, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/1973

Epaulette Shark, Hemiscyllium ocellatum (Bonnaterre 1788)

More Info


Distribution

Endemic to the Great Barrier Reef, from about the northern tip of Cape York Peninsula (approximately 10°44’ S) to the southern extremity (approximately 24° S) of the Great Barrier Reef at the Capricorn Group. The northernmost record is from Sunday Island (11°56’ S, 143°12’ E), a small islet situated less than 3 km from the mainland coast. 
Inhabits sheltered lagoons and shallow coral reef flats, most commonly seen at night or in daylight during low spring tides, often in tide pools or sheltering under rocks.

Biology

Females lay two eggs capsules from August to December, depositing them among coral at night. They may produced eggs capsules every 14 days. The pups hatch after about 120 days 14 to 16 cm TL. 
The Epaulette Shark lives in coral reef lagoons and on shallow coral reef flats. At night during low tides, individuals may encounter short periods of oxygen deprivation and high levels of CO2, especially. Heinrich et al. (2014) showed that the species was remarkably tolerant to short periods (hours) of hypoxia and elevated CO2 levels.

Fisheries

Caught in small numbers for the commercial aquarium trade.

Etymology

The specific name ocellatum is from Latin meaning 'having small eyes', in reference to the conspicuous eye-like post-cephalic ocellus on each side of the body.

Species Citation

Squalus ocellatus Bonnaterre 1788. Tableau Encyclopédique et Méthodique des trois Règnes de la Nature. Ichthyologie: 8. Type locality: South Sea (as La Mer du Sud).

Author

Bray, D.J. 2018

Resources

Australian Faunal Directory

Epaulette Shark, Hemiscyllium ocellatum (Bonnaterre 1788)

References


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls.

Allen, G.R. 2009. Field guide to marine fishes of tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Fourth Ed. Western Australian Museum, Perth, Australia, 287 pp.

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2008. Two new species of bamboo sharks (Orectolobiformes: Hemiscylliidae) from Western New Guinea. Aqua International Journal of Ichthyology 13: 3-23.

Allen, G.R., Erdmann, M.V., White, W.T., Fahmi & Dudgeon, C.L. 2016. Review of the bamboo shark genus Hemiscyllium (Orectolobiformes: Hemiscyllidae). Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation 23: 51–97. PDF Open access

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls.

Bennett, M.B., Kyne, P.M. & Heupel, M.R. 2015. Hemiscyllium ocellatum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T41818A68625284. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T41818A68625284.en. Downloaded on 16 November 2016.

Bonnaterre, J.P. 1788. Tableau Encyclopédique et Méthodique des trois Règnes de la Nature. Ichthyologie. Paris. pp. 1-215, 102 pls

Compagno, L.J.V. 1984. FAO Species Catalogue. Sharks of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125. Rome : FAO Vol. 4(1) pp. 1-249. 

Compagno, L.J.V. 2001. Sharks of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Bullhead, mackerel and carpet sharks (Heterodontiformes, Lamniformes and Orectolobiformes). Rome : FAO, FAO Species Catalogue for Fisheries Purposes No. 1 Vol. 2 269 pp. 

Compagno, L.J.V., Dando, M. & Fowler, S. 2005. A Field Guide to the Sharks of the World. London : Collins 368 pp. 

Compagno, L.J.V. & Niem, V.H. 1998. Families Squatinidae, Heterodontidae, Parascylliidae, Brachaeluridae, Orectolobidae, Hemiscylliidae. pp. 1235-1259 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 2 687-1396 pp.

Goto, T., Kiyonori, N. & Nakaya, K. 2007. Internal morphology and function of paired fins in the epaulette shark, Hemiscyllium ocellatum. Ichthyological Research 46(3): 281-287. 

Grant, E.M. 2002. Guide to Fishes. Redcliffe : EM Grant Pty Ltd 880 pp.

Gray, J.E. 1827. Pisces. pp. 435-437 in King, P.P. (ed.) Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia Performed Between the Years 1818 and 1822 with an appendix containing various subjects relating to hydrography and natural history. London : John Murray Vol. 2 Appendix B 637 pp. (as Squalus oculatus)

Heinrich DDU, Rummer JL, Morash AJ, Watson S-A, Simpfendorfer CA, Heupel MR, Munday PL (2014) A product of its environment: the epaulette shark (Hemiscyllium ocellatum) exhibits physiological tolerance to elevated environmental CO2. Conservation Physiology 2(1): doi:10.1093/conphys/cou047 PDF

Heupel, M.R. & Bennett, M.B. 1998. Observations on the diet and feeding habits of the epaulette shark, Hemiscyllium ocellatum (Bonnaterre) on Heron Island reef, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 49: 753-756.

Heupel, M.R. & M.B. Bennett. 2007. Estimating abundance of reef-dwelling sharks: a case study of the Epaulette Shark, Hemiscyllium ocellatum (Elasmobranchii: Hemiscyllidae). Pacific Science 61(3): 383-394.

Heupel, M.R., Whittier, J.M. & Bennett, M.B. 1999. Plasma steroid hormone profiles and reproductive biology of the epaulette shark, Hemiscyllium ocellatum. Journal of Experimental Zoology 284: 586-594.

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293 

Larson, H.K. & Williams, R.S. 1997. Darwin Harbour fishes: a survey and annotated checklist. pp. 339-380 in Hanley, H.R., Caswell, G., Megirian, D. & Larson, H.K. (eds). The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia. Proceedings of the Sixth International Marine Biology Workshop. Darwin : Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 466 pp.

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. CSIRO, Australia.

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and rays of Australia. Second edition. CSIRO, Australia, 656 pp

Peach, M.B. 2002. Rheotaxis by epaulette sharks, Hemiscyllium ocellatum (Chondrichthyes: Hemiscylliidae), on a coral reef flat. Australian Journal of Zoology 50: 407-414.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R.C. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Publishing, Bathurst, Australia, 557 pp.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

Söderström, V., Renshall, G.M.C. & Nilsson, G.E. 1999. Brain blood flow and blood pressure during hypoxia in the epaulette shark Hemiscyllium ocellatum, a hypoxia-tolerant elasmobranch. Journal of Experimental Biology 202: 829–835.

Russell, B.C. 1983. Annotated checklist of the coral reef fishes in the Capricorn-Bunker group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Special Publication Series 1: 1-184 figs 1-2 

Russell, B.C., Larson, H.K., Hutchins, J.B. & Allen, G.R. 2005. Reef fishes of the Sahul Shelf. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory Supplement 1 2005: 83-105

Stead, D.G. 1963. Sharks and Rays of Australian Seas. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 211 pp. 63 figs.

West, J.G. & Carter, S. 1990. Observations on the development and growth of the captive epaulette shark Hemiscyllium ocellatum (Bonnaterre) in captivity. Journal of Aquariculture and Aquatic Sciences 4: 111-117.

Whitley, G.P. 1940. The Fishes of Australia. Part 1. The sharks, rays, devil-fish, and other primitive fishes of Australia and New Zealand. Sydney : Roy. Zool. Soc. N.S.W. 280 pp. 303 figs.  

Whitley, G.P. 1967. Sharks of the Australasian region. The Australian Zoologist 14(2): 173-188 fig. 1 pl. 4

Wise, G., Mulvey, J.M. & Renshaw, G.M.C. 1998. Hypoxia tolerance in the Epaulette Shark (Hemiscyllium ocellatum). The Journal of Zoology 281: 1–5.

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37013014

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-40 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:107 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map