“They are some of the most interesting sharks I’ve ever seen,” said the director of animal husbandry and operations. “Rather than swim, full grown epaulette sharks can walk by wriggling their bodies and pushing with their paired fins,” continued the director.
Epaulette sharks (Hemiscyllium ocellatum) are nocturnal and often live near shallow water on coral reefs or in tidal pools. This shark has evolved to deal with extreme nighttime oxygen depletion that may occur in isolated tidal pools by increasing the blood supply to its brain and selectively shutting down non-essential neural functions. This is one of the most unique and interesting sharks to look upon, and the two new sharks at the Portland Aquarium will likely be very popular with children and visiting families.
So where can you see Walking Sharks? Epaulette sharks are native to the Indo-West Pacific, off the coast of New Guinea and Northern Australia. As a nocturnal predator this species is most active at night. Please visit Portland Aquarium to find out more and to see this magnificent shark in person. You may also click the links to meet “Triton” our new Giant Pacific Octopus who is one of our newest residents here at Portland Aquarium.