The Epaulette shark: A walking marvel

henrys-epaulette-shark-walking-along-seabed-on-fins

The worlds only walking shark

The Epaulette (Hemiscyllium ocellatum) is an Australian species, and we all know that Australian species can be a little odd in their adaptations; the duck-billed platypus and kangaroo for example. Which, makes it the perfect place to find the worlds only walking shark. The epaulette lives out its life in the reefs and coastal waters around the Australian coast (though you won’t be able to find it in the south coasts). Feeding on a delicious diet of crabs and worms

Epaulette Etiquette

Life in the intertidal zone is hard, you’re constantly being exposed to drastic changes in temperature, salinity and water level. There is no rest bite, to get through this grind you need to be specially adapted to deal with those changes and your instinct for survival needs to be high. Creatures making their home in intertidal zones really do reserve the upmost respect. But, back to the epaulette shark… In their coastal homes they to are subject to the ebb and tide of the sea. There are moments in the day where they too are exposed and literally become a fish out of water. These are the moments when the voraciousness of the epaulette shark really comes to life.

When the tide is in, the epaulette has to share its patch with bigger sharks, who get their pick of food on the reef. They would probably eat an epaulette if they had half a chance. But when the tide is out, they become rulers of the reef. The epaulette shark has special adaptation which allow it to conquer the reef when the tide is out. Bigger sharks don’t have these adaptations and are forced to follow the water when it goes.

The super shark

Adaptation one: Epaulette sharks can survive without oxygen for 60 times longer than a human! By slowing down its breathing and heart rate, as well as powering down its brain.

Adaptation two: The epaulette can crawl between rock pools like a toddler! This allows the shark to get back to life giving, patches of sea water and to rock hop on the search for prey.

So, now we all know how amazing the epaulette shark truly is. It is a true intertidal survivor, thanks to some quirky adaptations. I hope reader, if you clicked on this link expecting a nightmare world where jaws like sharks could walk on land and chase you has been cleared up. I hope you have read this and discovered a truly remarkable creature. Thank you for reading my post.

 

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