walking shark, bamboo shark, Hemiscyllium halmahera (1)

photo via: reefbuilders.com

walking shark, bamboo shark, Hemiscyllium halmahera (2)

photo via: scubaboard.com

Habitat: Indonesia
Status: Not Listed

A new species of Epaulette Shark, or Walking Shark (Hemiscyllium Halmahera), has been discovered in Halmahera in north eastern Indonesia. This will be the ninth recognized species of walking shark in the world.

These are relatively small sharks with the largest only reaching 121 cm (48 in) in adult body length. Instead of swimming, these sharks “walk” along the ocean floor  by wriggling their bodies and using their small paddle-like pelvic and pectoral fins to push themselves forward.It will only swim if being chased and even then it doesn’t go too far like that. Why ‘run’ when you can ‘walk’?

They’re nocturnal creatures and will typically hang out in shallow water near reefs or even in tidepools. To deal with its preferred habitat, which comes with a depletion in water (and therefore oxygen to the shark’s gills), the shark has evolved to be able to increase the blood supply to its brain and can selectively shut down non-essential neural functions. This means that it’s able to survive without oxygen for up to an hour without any ill effects. No big deal or anything…

Good thing this guy’s harmless to humans. Can you imagine a Great White being able to do this… Oy vey.

Check out the full video: