Above: The Epaulette Shark appears to ‘walk’ on the seafloor by wriggling its body and pushing with its paired fins which act like legs.


An Epaulette Shark is a small species of a long-tailed carpet shark, usually under 1 metre long. These sharks have nocturnal habits and frequent shallow waters on coral reefs around Australia. It has evolved to cope with severe night time oxygen depletion (hypoxia) by increasing the blood supply to its brain and shutting down non-essential neural functions. It can also survive out of water. If the tide goes out and the epaulette shark is stranded on the exposed coral it has the ability to ‘walk’ to a deeper pool or ocean.