HENRY’S EPAULETTE SHARK OR TRITON EPAULETTE SHARK
A shark with unique spots on its body
Family: Hemiscylliidae – Longtail Carpetsharks
Common Name– Carpet Sharks
Status: IUCN Red List DATA DEFICIENT
Average Size and Length: One male was measured at 78.3 cm/2.6 feet. It reaches a length of 81.5 cm/2.7 feet.
Tail: The tail is thick and long.
Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: Henry’s Epaulette shark is only known currently in the western Pacific from western New Guinea, Papua Barat Province, Indonesia. It has been found at depths of between 10-98 feet at reefs near Triton Bay on the southern coast of west Papua. They are considered tropical. It was observed and collected both in the bay and at nearby Selat Iris, a narrow channel between the mainland and Aiduma Island. Now there is almost no shallow, fringing reef habitat due to the unique geomorphology. So now, the typical habitat for this species extends into deeper water of at least 98 feet. Although, it has also been sighted in depths less than 13 feet.
Aesthetic Identification: Henry’s Epaulette shark or the Triton Epaulette shark is distinguished by its unique color pattern. It is distinctive in that it has a combination of small, fine scattered spots on the head, body and fins including 13-18 spots on the interorbital/dorsal snout region and 6-18 spots on dorsal surface of pectoral fins. There is a unique ‘double-ocellus’ marking on middle of side, just behind the head.
Biology and Reproduction: Not much is known, but they are thought to be oviparous.
Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: It is generally inactive during the day, sheltering under rocky outcrops or tabular corals. So, it more than likely nocturnal. It is often seen resting on the bottom, occasionally observed slowly swimming or crawling over the bottom with the pectoral and pelvic fins.
Henry’s Epaulette Shark or Triton Epaulette Shark Recorded Attacks on Humans: Not a threat to humans.