Get to know the Land Walking Shark in Papua, Some Facts Behind

land walking shark

West Papua waters, including Raja Ampat, Triton Bay, and Cenderawasih Bay, have a unique fish species like the land walking shark.

The people call it mandemor or kalabia. However, this animal is a rare animal that is rarely encountered.

Some Facts Behind the Land Walking Shark in Papua

Apart from Indonesian seas, walking sharks can also be found in Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Specifically in Indonesia, there are six types of walking sharks found in the waters of Eastern Indonesia. Here are some facts about the rare land walking shark:

1. Land Walking Sharks are Getting Rare

The total population of Hemiscyllium spp or land walking sharks is less than other shark species in world waters today. Almost all of the nine species identified occur in tropical marine water habitats.

Walking sharks in Indonesia need to be given special protection. The goal is for their wild populations to be well maintained and achieve sustainability.

This fish needs special protection. Walking sharks tend to come under pressure from anthropogenic factors or human interference.

In addition, walking sharks are slow and harmless, making them easy to catch.

2. There are Two Types

There are two types of land walking sharks in West Papua waters, namely the Raja Ampat banded wobbegong (Hemiscyllium freycineti),

The Triton Bay wobbegong (Hemiscyllium henryi), and the Cenderawasih Bay wobbegong (Hemiscyllium galei).

At first glance, the shape of this fish looks like a shark with brown skin and dark brown spots. This body color is used for camouflage in coral reefs.

It is called the carpet shark because it hides behind the rocks and lies on the sand.

Moving slowly, the distribution of kalabia is not comprehensive, only in West Papua waters. Kalabia eats marine life on the bottom of the waters, such as clams, shrimp, sea worms, and sea slugs.

3. Easy to Observe in the Day and Evening

Living on the sidelines of coral reefs makes it easy for divers to observe kalabia during the day and evening.

Kalabia in Raja Ampat can be found in the Mios Kon and Mansuar waters. Apart from West Papua, walking sharks are also found in northern Australia.

4. Using Fins to Walk

This species is called the walking shark because instead of swimming, it uses its muscular fins to slither or walk on the bottom of shallow water.

These animals are nocturnal or active and look for food at night. Its diet consists of small fish, benthic invertebrates, and shrimp. While during the day sleeping in the crevices of coral reefs.

Walking shark has a slender and long body, patterned white-brown with small and large spots of light brown and black.

Its size varies between 61-70 cm, and the smallest size is around 20 cm.

In the adult phase of this animal, males are estimated to be about 55-60 cm, and females around 55 cm. At the same time, the young age is 20 cm.

5. Have High Endurance

This species can survive when oxygen is scarce, spending up to an hour on land on a single breath. This ability helps land walking sharks thrive in the low-oxygen waters of tide pools.

According to the researchers, walking sharks likely developed the ability to walk within the last 9 million years. This ability is a swift adaptation for sharks.

Researchers estimate that walking sharks have the potential to form new species at incredible speeds.

The shark’s signature spots are very distinctive. Scientists also suspect that these animals change their color patterns at will.

Land walking shark need preservation so they don’t become extinct. Even though this species is rare, society can maintain it. To meet them, you can go to the celebrations in Papua.