Throughout the year we have discussed a variety of interesting shark species and some of the positive and negative impacts of human activity on sharks. Today we are going to focus on a shark that is located off the coast of Papua New Guinea. The Hooded Carpet Shark (Hemiscyllium strahani) is a really small shark, reaching just over 2.5 feet in length.
You can find this species hanging out in coral beds up to 60 feet deep. L ittle is known about population dynamics and the biology of this shark. What is known is that they are nocturnal, so they spend their days safely snuggled in crevices of the coral and at night they come out to feed. With a species that we know so little about, we may have important questions. What are some of the issues that face this species? How can we help?
This is a beautiful shark that is pretty hardy and is a popular specimen in both private and public aquariums. Aquariums are a great way for people around the world to learn about different organisms but if you have a home aquarium, it is important to make sure you know where your fish came from. Were they caught in the wild or breed in captivity? This article may provide some helpful information about sustainable aquariums and best practices. http://www.alive.com/lifestyle/eco-friendly-aquariums/
One of the most pressing issues that faces the Hooded Carpet Shark is habitat destruction through high pollutants in the water, but there are ways that you can help. Just because the impacted habitat is as far away as New Guinea doesn’t mean that we can’t have an impact on the health of the water. You don’t even need to buy a plane ticket! In your own home, you can make a difference by using phosphate-free soaps and detergents. Phosphates and nitrates are nutrients that are naturally found in the environment, which is good, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing. At high levels, these nutrients turn into pollutants, causing algae blooms and other chemical imbalances within the water. By reducing the amount of phosphates coming into the water from non-natural sources, we can help protect the Hooded Carpet Shark’s unique habitat.
Do you have a great way to reduce pollutants? Leave a comment below to let us know!
Edited by KC O’Shea
Heupel, M.R. & Kyne, P.M. (SSG Australia & Oceania Regional Workshop, March 2003) 2003. Hemiscyllium strahani. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 30 July 2015.