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Hemiscyllium freycineti

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA CHONDRICHTHYES ORECTOLOBIFORMES HEMISCYLLIIDAE

Scientific Name: Hemiscyllium freycineti
Species Authority: (Quoy & Gaimard, 1824)
Common Name(s):
English Indonesian Speckled Carpet Shark, Freycinet's Epaulette Shark
Taxonomic Notes: The newly described Hemiscyllium michaeli Allen & Dudgeon, 2010 has been split from H. freycineti. As such, H. freycineti is now considered to be restricted to western New Guinea, whereas H. michaeli occurs in eastern New Guinea.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2011-01-18
Assessor(s): Kyne, P.M. & Heupel, M.R.
Reviewer(s): Carlson, J. & Dulvy, N.
Justification:
The Indonesian Speckled Carpet Shark (Hemiscyllium freycineti) is a poorly known species from New Guinea which has a very restricted range in the Indonesian province of Papua Barat (West Papua). Previous to the recent description of H. michaeli it was considered to occur more widely around New Guinea, but the Indonesian Speckled Carpet Shark is now considered to be restricted to western New Guinea, and H. michaeli to eastern New Guinea. This species was assessed as that wider ranging species in 2003 (with an assessment of Near Threatened). This is an update of the species’ assessment, given the taxonomic change which has resulted in a much more restricted distribution than was previously thought.

Little is known about the population size of the species and no scientific data are currently available. The Indonesian Speckled Carpet Shark occurs in shallow waters on coral reefs, and sandy and grassy substrates, but its exact distribution, habitat preferences, as well as its biology are poorly known. Threats currently affecting this species are also unclear but given that it is a very attractive and hardy species it may be sought for the aquarium trade. Given its habitat, this species is very susceptible to habitat destruction via dynamite fishing practices, but the extent of habitat destruction within its range is uncertain. The impacts of other fishing activities on this species are also unknown, but fishing pressure in shallow inshore environments (including shallow reefs where this species occurs) can be very significant in eastern Indonesia. Illegal fishing activities also pose a threat within the habitat of this species, and illegal fishing (which includes trawling) is an on-going issue within Indonesian waters. There is an urgent need to obtain the data required to accurately assess the species’ conservation status. As a precautionary measure, an assessment of Near Threatened is retained for the species (nearly meeting criteria A4cd; B1ab(iii) for Vulnerable), but with more information it may indeed fall within a higher category, given its restricted range and potential threats acting in the region.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Indonesian Speckled Carpet Shark (Hemiscyllium freycineti) appears to be restricted to the Indonesian province of Papua Barat (West Papua), around the western peninsula of the island of New Guinea in the Western Central Pacific. Previous to the description of H. michaeli it was considered to occur more widely around New Guinea, but H. freycineti is now considered to be restricted to western New Guinea, and H. michaeli to eastern New Guinea (Allen and Dudgeon 2010).
Countries:
Native:
Indonesia (Papua)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Pacific – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Little is known about the population size of the Indonesian Speckled Carpet Shark and no scientific data are currently available.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

The Indonesian Speckled Carpet Shark occurs in shallow waters on coral reefs, and sandy and grassy substrates, but its exact depth range is unknown. The biology of this species is almost entirely unknown, although like other Hemiscyllium species, it is certainly oviparous. The smallest juvenile specimen known measures 21.4 cm total length (TL), and so size at birth is below this figure. The largest specimen examined by Allen and Dudgeon (2010) was 66.3 cm TL, but maximum size is unknown; a maximum size of 72 cm TL reported by Compagno (2001) may be for either H. freycineti or H. michaeli.

Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: It is unknown if the Indonesian Speckled Carpet Shark is utilised by the aquarium industry. However, this is a very attractive and hardy species that may be sought after for public and private aquaria. It is also unknown if the species is utilised for food.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Threats currently affecting the Indonesian Speckled Carpet Shark are unclear. Given that it is a very attractive and hardy species it may be sought for the aquarium trade. This species is very susceptible to habitat destruction via dynamite fishing practices. However, there is a lack of information on the extent of habitat degradation within its range (not only from destructive fishing methods, but also from pollution; heavy pollutant loads from mining activities are an issue within the region). The impacts of fishing activities on this species are also unknown, but fishing pressure in shallow inshore environments (including shallow reefs where this species occurs) can be significant in eastern Indonesia. Illegal fishing activities also pose a threat within the habitat of this species, and illegal fishing (which includes trawling) is an on-going issue within Indonesian waters.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

There are no conservation actions currently in place for the Indonesian Speckled Carpet Shark. The development of ecotourism activities centered on the exceptional diversity of marine life in Papua Barat may provide impetus for the protection of this species’ habitat. Based on the restricted distribution of this species and its poorly known status, there is an urgent need to obtain the data required to accurately assess the species’ conservation status. In particular, surveys should be undertaken to determine its full distribution, habitat preferences, basic aspects of its biology, and its occurrence in the aquarium trade. An examination of other potentially threatening processes is also needed.


Citation: Kyne, P.M. & Heupel, M.R. 2011. Hemiscyllium freycineti. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 October 2014.
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