Genus Hemiscyllium

A genus of small, distinctly patterned sharks, found in the Australia-New Guinea region and the nearby eastern Indonesian island of Halmahera. Species are characterised by having nasoral and perioral grooves, short nasal barbels, a small transverse mouth below the eyes, two similar-sized dorsal fins, and a long slender tail.
Hemiscyllids are small (usually less than about 85 cm TL and frequently less than 70 cm TL), nocturnally active, bottom-living sharks, which exhibit a peculiar “crawling” gait while foraging for benthic invertebrates and fishes.
Hemiscyllium is from the Latin hemi, meaning half and the Latinized scyllium (from the Greek skylion), meaning dogfish.
Author: Bray, D.J. 2020

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Hemiscyllium in Fishes of Australia, accessed 10 Dec 2022,


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

Dudgeon, C.L., Corrigan, C., Yang, L., Allen, G.R., Erdmann, M.V., Fahmi, Sugeha, H.Y., White, W.T., Naylor, G.J.P. 2020. Walking, swimming or hitching a ride? Phylogenetics and biogeography of the walking shark genus HemiscylliumMarine and Freshwater Research, 

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