Speckled Carpetshark, Hemiscyllium trispeculare Richardson 1843

Other Names: Marbled Catshark, Speckled Carpet Shark, Speckled Cat Shark, Speckled Catshark, Speckled Cat-shark, Speckled Epaulette Shark

A Speckled Catshark, Hemiscyllium trispeculare, in a tide pool at Darwin, Northern Territory. Source: Michael Hammer, Fig. 45, in Allen et al. (2016) Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation 23: 51–97. License: CC by Attribution

A catshark covered in a dense network of fine brown spots including on the snout, a large black ocellus rimmed posteriorly by several dark blotches above each pectoral fin, a short brown diagonal bar behind the spiracle, and slightly darker bands along the body and tail.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Hemiscyllium trispeculare in Fishes of Australia, accessed 29 May 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/3265

Speckled Carpetshark, Hemiscyllium trispeculare Richardson 1843

More Info


Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia, to Melville Bay and Cape Arnhem, Northern Territory; also Cartier Island, Timor Sea. Elsewhere, the species occurs in the Aru Islands, Indonesia.
Inhabits trawl grounds such as Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia, usually in depths  above 20 m. Also occurs on reefs and shoals of northwestern Australia, in areas with large daily tidal fluctuations of 7–10 m in some areas. In the Darwin area, the species also occurs in shallow rock pools during low spring tides.


Precaudal length 1.2–1.4 in TL, HL 6.2–8.2 in TL; head width 1.2–1.9 in HL; head depth 1.0–1.5 in head width; eye length 2.6–4.1 in snout length, eye height 1.8–3.9 in eye length; fleshy interorbital space 1.0–1.6, bony interorbital space 1.4–2.0, both in snout length; snout length 2.0–3.2, snout tip to mouth 4.4–7.1, snout tip to spiracle 1.8–2.6, snout tip to first gill slit 1.1–1.3, all in HL; distance between first and fifth gill slit 2.4–3.8 in HL; height of first gill slit 2.3–3.9 and fifth 1.8–2.8, both in snout length. 
Mouth width 1.0–1.4, nasal barbel length 3.3–7.5, maximum width of lower labial flap 3.6–5.7, length of postoral fold (upper labial furrow) 2.8–5.1, length of lower labial furrow 3.4–5.4, all in snout length. 
Snout tip to dorsal-fin origin 2.6–3.0, snout tip to pelvic-fin origin 3.1–3.6, snout to cloaca length 2.9–3.7, cloaca to anal-fin origin 2.0–2.5, cloaca to caudal-fin tip 1.4–1.5, all in TL; pectoral-fin length 1.0–1.5 in HL; pelvic-fin length 1.2–1.6 in HL; first dorsal-fin base 1.3–2.5 in HL; first dorsal-fin height 0.9–1.4 in first dorsalfin base; free margin of first dorsal fin 1.0–2.8 in first dorsal-fin height; interdorsal space 1.0–1.6 in HL; second dorsal-fin base 1.5–2.4 in HL; second dorsal-fin height 0.9–1.5 in second dorsal-fin base; free margin of second dorsal fin 1.3–2.6 in second dorsal-fin height; anal-fin base 1.0–2.2 in HL; anal-fin height 2.2–4.8 in anal-fin base; free margin of anal fin 1.5–2.2 in anal-fin height; body depth at level of anal-fin origin 2.3–4.3 in HL; subcaudal length 5.5–8.2 in TL.


Colour pattern unique - a dense covering of close-set, small, brown spots on head and most of body; about 7–8 dark-brown saddles from level of pelvic fins to tail tip, first 4 on body extending across back onto sides and consisting of large polygon-shaped dark marks separated by whitish reticulum; posterior 4 bars more-or-less solid dark-brown dorsally and more diffuse on sides, enclosing numerous small brown spots and a few larger ovate brown markings; ventral portion of side with alternating white-and-brown bars of approximately equal width; post-cephalic ocellus large and well-formed, bordered posteriorly by a dark patch comprising 1 to 3 poorly formed irregular smaller ocelli; both dorsal fins with a pair of dark-brown saddles along anterior margin and pyramid-shaped zone of dark-brown spotting at base; apex and posterior margin of fin narrowly white; pectoral and pelvic fins brown with numerous small brown spots, largest and most conspicuous on basal portion of fin, outer margin narrowly white.


The specific name trispeculare is from the Latin specularis meaning 'to look', presumably in reference to the postcephalic ocellus bordered posteriorly by additional poorly formed smaller ocelli.

Species Citation

Hemiscyllium trispeculare Richardson 1843. Icones Piscium, or plates of rare fishes: 5, pl. 1(2). Type locality: Turtle Island, NW Australia.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Speckled Carpetshark, Hemiscyllium trispeculare Richardson 1843


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37013015

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-30 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:79 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map