New ‘Walking’ Shark Species Discovered in Indonesia!

A new species of epaulette (carpet) shark was recently discovered off the coast of an island in Indonesia!

New species of epaulette shark. Photo via Conservation International.

New species of epaulette shark. Photo via Conservation International.

The walking shark, Hemiscyllium halamhera, was first seen walking along the sea floor by divers in 2008. Only recently has it been officially recognized as a new species.

This is the third walking shark species found in Indonesia in the past six years! Walking sharks use their fins to navigate along the sea floor in search of small fish and crustaceans. Watch a walking shark do its thing: 


Although new species are discovered almost daily, this finding has given the conservation community new hope for the future of Indonesia’s elasmobranchs (sharks and rays). The local government and emerging dive tourism industry are excited by this discovery and have taken precautions to protect these sharks!

There are nine known species of walking shark in the world, all of which inhabit the shallow waters of very restricted ranges.

Got a question about this new discovery for our experts? Ask them in the comments section! 

3 Responses to “New ‘Walking’ Shark Species Discovered in Indonesia!”

  1. 1 Adele Cone October 1, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Is this shark and others in the same species family protected by any animal laws? People like poachers tend to ruin the beauty of nature down to extinction and it would be tragic loss to our ocean wildlife to lose a creature of such beauty before we have a chance to really explore its life cycle.

    • 2 National Aquarium October 2, 2013 at 2:10 pm

      The future of this species and its relatives is really in the hands of the Indonesian government. As the country’s economy and tourism industry have matured in recent years, so as the awareness of the rapid decline in shark and ray populations (the same animals that are largely responsible for drawing travelers to visit the islands and dive their reefs).

      The Indonesian government has taken great first steps to educate their communities on the important role these animals play in maintaining healthy reefs and oceans. They haven’t passed any laws specifically protecting these animals, however, our hope is that we see that action in the coming years.

  1. 1 ‘Walking shark’ discovery in Indonesia | Dear Kitty. Some blog Trackback on October 1, 2013 at 6:34 am

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