Discovering the Epaulette Shark in the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is home to many species, including the Epaulette shark. This small, unique shark species can “walk” on its fins and survive in low-oxygen environments. This article will discover the fascinating Epaulette shark in the Great Barrier Reef, including its habitat, behaviour, and conservation status.


Habitat and Distribution:

The Epaulette shark, a diminutive species inhabiting the shallow waters of the Great Barrier Reef, spans the Indo-Pacific realm.


This small, slender shark grows up to three feet long. They have a distinctive pattern of dark spots and stripes on their body, which helps them blend in with their surroundings. The Epaulette shark has a long, slender tail, a flattened head, and a small mouth full of sharp teeth.


Known for its ability to “walk” on its fins. They do this by using their pectoral and pelvic fins to move along the seabed, which allows them to navigate through narrow crevices and shallow waters. They can also survive in low-oxygen environments by slowing their metabolism and using their gills more efficiently.

Conservation Status of the Epaulette Shark

The Epaulette Shark is currently listed as a species of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). However, their populations are declining in some areas due to habitat loss and overfishing. Protecting their habitats and regulating fishing practices are important to ensure these unique sharks continue to thrive in the wild.



Q: Are Epaulette sharks dangerous to humans?

A: They are not considered dangerous to humans. They are a small species of shark and cannot inflict serious harm.


Q: Can I see Epaulette sharks while snorkelling or diving in the Great Barrier Reef?

A: Yes, both divers and snorkelers frequently see them on the Great Barrier Reef.


Q: What is the best time of year to see Epaulette sharks in the Great Barrier Reef?

A: Epaulette sharks can be seen throughout the year on the Great Barrier Reef more active during the warmer months (November-April).

Interesting Facts

  • This shark can survive for up to an hour out of the water by using its spiracles to extract oxygen from the air.
  • These sharks have small, pointed fins to walk across the reef for prey.
  • The Epaulette Shark is one of the few species of shark that can survive in low-oxygen environments.
  • These sharks can lay eggs and produce offspring without needing a male to fertilize the eggs.


The Epaulette shark is a unique and fascinating species in the Great Barrier Reef. By learning about their habitat, behaviour, and conservation status, we can help protect this species and ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef.


Next, discover more Great Barrier Reef Sharks.