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Hemiscyllium strahani:   (click for more)

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Synonyms
Other Combinations:  None.
FAO Names
En - Hooded carpetshark, Fr - Requin-chabot moine, Sp - Bamboa capuchona.
3Alpha Code: ORQ     Taxonomic Code: 1070400204
Scientific Name with Original Description
Hemiscyllium strahani  Whitley, 1967, Australian Zool., 14(2): 176, fig. 1. Holotype: Australian Museum, Sydney, AMS-IB.7938, 735 mm adult female, vicinity of Port Moresby, New Guinea. Status of type confirmed by Dingerkus and DeFino, 1983, Bull. American Mus. Nat. Hist., 176(1): 46.
Diagnostic Features
fieldmarks: Mouth well in front of eyes; spineless dorsal fins far posterior on tail, extremely elongated thick precaudal tail, long and low anal fin just anterior to caudal fin; white spots on body, and unique black hood on head.

Juvenile coloration unknown; prebranchial head and snout of adults with a unique black 'executioner's hood'; black spots and bands present on the underside of the head; no discrete small dark spots on snout. Black epaulette spot of shoulder partially merged with black shoulder saddle, no white ring or posterior curved spots surrounding it. Body and fins with numerous, conspicuously small to large white spots on dark saddles and blotches; no reticular network of fine dark spots on body and fins; pectoral and pelvic fins with conspicuous black webs and white-spotted margins and webs. Dark saddles on dorsal surface and sides of preanal tail extending onto ventral surface. 
Geographical Distribution

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Western South Pacific: Papua-New Guinea (Port Moresby area and Massas (Masas) Island).
Habitat and Biology
A little-known inshore bottom shark of singular and unique appearance, found on coral reefs on reef faces and flats and favouring areas with abundant hard corals.It may occur down to 18 m deep but Michael (1993) mostly observed it at depths of 3 to 13 m.

Apparently moderately common but with biology little-known. It is nocturnal, and hides in crevices and under table corals during the day.
The holotype survived seven years in the Taronga Park Zoo aquarium among a breeding colony of Hemiscyllium ocellatum, but it apparently did not hybridize with them. 
Size
To about 80 cm total length. Formerly known only from two adult museum specimens (Dingerkus and DeFino, 1983), an adult male 59.4 cm long and an adult female 73.5 cm. Michael (1993) observed this species on night dives and reported specimens 75 to 80 cm long.
Interest to Fisheries
Interest to fisheries none at present. It is not known if this very attractive little shark is being affected by the aquarium trade.

Conservation Status : Its conservation status urgently needs to be assessed because of its rarity and because its limited range could be subject to problems including destructive reef fisheries and localized toxic pollution.
Remarks
Dingerkus and DeFino (1983) reported a juvenile Hemiscyllium from Irian Jaya, Indonesia, that is of uncertain identity but could be the young of this species (see discussion above).
Source of Information
Sharks of the world An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Volume 2 Bullhead, mackerel and carpet sharks (Heterodontiformes, Lamniformes and Orectolobiformes). Leonard J.V. Compagno 2001.  FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 1, Vol. 2. Rome, FAO. 2001. p.269.
Bibliography
Compagno, 1984
Dingerkus & DeFino, 1983
Michael, 1993
Whitley, 1967
 
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