Shark with polygon shapes all over its body

The Halmahera Epaulette shark (Hemiscyllium halmahera), is a species of shark belonging to the family Hemiscylliidae found in Indonesia. This species is described from two specimens collected near Ternate island in 2013 by Allen & Erdmann, off the coast of larger Halmahera island. They look similar to other family members, but have clusters of brown or white spots in polygon formations all over its body.


Family: Hemiscylliidae – Longtail Carpetsharks

Genus: Hemiscyllium 

Species: halmahera


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameCarpet Sharks

Family– Hemiscylliidae

Common NameLongtail Carpetsharks or Bamboo Sharks




Average Size and Length: Their maximum recorded length has been 68.1 cm/2.2 feet.

Tail: The tail is thick and long.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Halmahera Epaulette shark can be found in the western Pacific in Indonesia. This species is described from two specimens collected near Ternate island, off the coast of the larger Halmahera island in 2013. They are considered tropical, pelagic-neritic. They have been found at a depth range of between 16-33 feet.

Aesthetic Identification: The Halmahera Epaulette shark is most similar to the Cenderawasih Epaulette shark (Hemiscyllium galei), found in west Papua, but looks strikingly different in its pattern of spots. While H. galei has 7-8 large, dark spots on each side of its body, H. halmahera has a brown color with 2-3 dark brown polygonal spots and clusters of white spots in polygon formations all over its body. The white spots are in a matrix between the dark spots. There are less than 10 large dark spots on the interorbital/snout region; a pair of large dark marks on the ventral surface of the head. They have a fragmented post-cephalic mark consisting of a large U-shaped dark spot with a more or less continuous white margin on the lower half, followed by a vertical row of 3, smaller clusters of 2-3 polygonal dark marks.

Biology and Reproduction: Not much is known, but more than likely they are oviparous.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Not much is known.

Speed: More than likely, like other members of its family, they use their pectoral fins to walk or crawl along the ocean floor.

Halmahera Epaulette Shark Future and Conservation: Not enough data to evaluate.

Halmahera Epaulette Shark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.

Allen, G.R., M.V. Erdmann and C.L. Dudgeon, 2013. “Hemiscyllium halmahera, a new species of Bamboo Shark (Hemiscylliidae) from Indonesia”. aqua, International Journal 19(3):123-136.