Spotted Wobbegong, Orectolobus maculatus (Bonnaterre 1788)


Other Names: Carpet Shark, Common Carpet Shark, Common Catshark, Tassel Shark, Wobbegong

A Spotted Wobbegong, Orectolobus maculatus, at Montague Island, New South Wales. Source: John Turnbull / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Summary:
A large, well-camouflaged yellowish to greenish-brown shark with large dark saddles along the back, whitish rings on the body (including within the saddles), a distinctive brown triangle between the eyes, and 6-10 long fleshy lobes along each side of the head. 
The Spotted Wobbegong is often confused with the Banded Carpetshark, Orectolobus halei, which has indistinct markings in the dark saddles and fewer fleshy lobes.

Great video of a Spotted Wobbegong at Bare Island, Sydney, New South Wales.

A Spotted Wobbegong in Cabbage Tree Bay, Manly, New South Wales.

Despite their seemingly docile nature, Spotted Wobbegongs have long, slender sharp teeth and may cause severe lacerations if provoked. Not only that, they seem reluctant to release their victims.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Orectolobus maculatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Nov 2018, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/1975

Spotted Wobbegong, Orectolobus maculatus (Bonnaterre 1788)

More Info


Distribution

North of Swains Reef, Queensland, south to about Lakes Entrance, Victoria, and from about Warrnambool, Victoria, to North West Cape, Western Australia (Tasmanian and Northern Territory records probably in error). Although this species has been recorded from Japan and South China seas, it is most likely endemic to Australia. 
Spotted Wobbegongs are nocturnal and rest during the day on reefs, in coastal bays beneath jetties and piers, and on sandy bottoms and in seagrass beds.

Features

Body large, robust, no dermal ridges or warty tubercles along back; lateral head margin with 6-10 long, coarsely branched dermal lobes along each side before the eye - lobes absent from chin; small tubercle present above rear of eye.

Feeding

A nocturnal predator, feeding mostly on fishes and octopus, along with crabs and other crustaceans such as crayfish. 

Biology

Individuals mature at 115-120 cm TL. Reproductive mode: aplacental viviparous (ovoviviparous) with females giving birth to up to 37 pups in spring following a 10-11 month gestation period.

Fisheries

Targeted and taken as bycatch in commercial and recreational fisheries.

Conservation

NSW: Listed as Vulnerable

IUCN Red List: Near Threatened

Remarks

Although considered docile, bites from wobbegong sharks can not only cause severe lacerations, but the shark is often reluctant to release its victim. The International Shark Attack File records 23 confirmed attacks on humans by Spotted Wobbegong sharks. 

Similar Species

The Spotted Wobbegong differs from Orectolobus halei in having saddles with whitish rings and blotches, and more dermal lobes (6-10) at the rear end of the preorbital group.

Etymology

The specific name maculatus is from the Latin maculosus meaning 'spotted', in reference to the spotted pattern on the body.

Species Citation

Squalus maculatus Bonnaterre 1788, Tableau encyclopédique et méthodique des trois règnes de la nature... Ichthyologie: 8. Type locality: southwestern Pacific (as La mer du Sud) - presumably Australia.

Author

Bray, D.J. 2018

Resources

Australian Faunal Directory

Spotted Wobbegong, Orectolobus maculatus (Bonnaterre 1788)

References


Bloch, M.E. & Schneider, J.G. 1801. Systema Ichthyologiae Iconibus ex Illustratum. Berlin 584 pp. 110 pls. (as Squalus lobatus)

Bonnaterre, J.P. 1788. Tableau Encyclopédique et Méthodique des trois Règnes de la Nature. Ichthyologie. Paris. pp. 1-215, 102 pls

Chidlow, J. 2003. Biology of wobbegong sharks from Western Australia. Unpublished M.Sc. Thesis.

Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 pp.

Compagno, L.J.V. 1984. FAO Species Catalogue. Sharks of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125. Rome : FAO Vol. 4(1) pp. 1-249.

Compagno, L.J.V. 2001. Sharks of the World. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Bullhead, mackerel and carpet sharks (Heterodontiformes, Lamniformes and Orectolobiformes). Rome : FAO, FAO Species Catalogue for Fisheries Purposes No. 1 Vol. 2 269 pp.

Compagno, L.J.V. & Niem, V.H. 1998. Families Squatinidae, Heterodontidae, Parascylliidae, Brachaeluridae, Orectolobidae, Hemiscylliidae. pp. 1235-1259 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 2 687-1396 pp.

Compagno, L.J.V., Dando, M. & Fowler, S. 2005. A Field Guide to the Sharks of the World. London : Collins 368 pp.

Corrigan S, Huveneers C, Stow A, Beheregaray (2015) A multi-locus comparative study of dispersal in three codistributed demersal sharks from eastern Australia. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. doi: 10.1139/cjfas-2015-0085 PDF available, Open Access

Gmelin, J.F. 1789. Pisces. pp. 1126-1516 in Linnaeus, C. (ed.) Systema Naturae. Leiden : Delamollière Vol. 1 Pt 3. (as Squalus barbatus)

Grant, E.M. 2002. Guide to Fishes. Redcliffe : EM Grant Pty Ltd 880 pp. 

Günther, A. 1870. Catalogue of the Fishes in the British Museum. Catalogue of the Physostomi, containing the families Gymnotidae, Symbranchidae, Muraenidae, Pegasidae, and of the Lophobranchii, Plectognathi, Dipnoi, [thru] Leptocardii, in the British Museum. London : British Museum Vol. 8 549 pp. (as Crossorhinus barbatus)

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.

Huveneers, C. 2006. Redescription of two species of wobbegongs (Chondrichthyes: Orectolobidae) with elevation of Orectolobus halei Whitley 1940 to species level. Zootaxa 1284: 29-51.

Huveneers, C. 2007. The Ecology and Biology of Wobbegong Sharks (Genus Orectolobus) in Relation to the Commercial Fishery in New South Wales, Australia. PhD Thesis, Macquarie University.

Huveneers, C., Otway, N.M., Gibbs, S.E. & R.G. Harcourt. 2007. Quantitative diet assessment of wobbegong sharks (genus Orectolobus) in New South Wales, Australia. ICES Journal of Marine Science 64: 1272-1281. PDF available, open access

Huveneers C., Otway N.M. & Harcourt R.G. 2007. Morphometric relationships and catch composition of wobbegong sharks (Chondrichthyes: Orectolobus) commercially fished in New South Wales, Australia. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 128: 243-249.

Huveneers, C., Pollard, D.A., Gordon, I., Flaherty, A.A. & Pogonoski, J. 2015. Orectolobus maculatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T41837A68638559. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T41837A68638559.en. Downloaded on 18 July 2018.

Huveneers, C., Walker, T.I., Otway, N.M. & R.G. Harcourt. 2007. Reproductive synchrony of three sympatric species of wobbegong shark (genus Orectolobus) in New South Wales, Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 58(8): 765-777.

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. 433 pp.

Kyne, P.M., Johnson, J.W., Courtney, A.J. & Bennett, M.B. 2005. New biogeographical information on Queensland chrondrichthyans. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 50(2): 321-327

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 1994. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Canberra : CSIRO Australia 513 pp. 84 pls.

Last, P.R. & Stevens, J.D. 2009. Sharks and Rays of Australia. Collingwood : CSIRO Publishing Australia 2, 550 pp.

Macbeth, W.G., Vandenberg, M. & Graham, K.J. 2008. Identifying Sharks and Rays; a Guide for Commercial Fishers. Sydney : New South Wales Department of Primary Industry 71 pp.

Meyer, F.A. 1793. Systematisch-summarische Uebersicht der neuesten zoologischen Entdeckungen in Neuholland und Afrika. Leipzig : Dykirchen 178 pp. (as Squalus wattsii)

Ogilby, J.D. & McCulloch, A.R. 1908. A revision of the Australian Orectolobidae. Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales 42: 264-299 fig. 1 pls

Prokop, F. 2002. Australian Fish Guide. Croydon South, Victoria : Australian Fishing Network 256 pp.

Shaw, G. & Nodder, F.P. 1806. The Naturalist's Miscellany, or coloured figures of natural objects; drawn and described from nature. London Vol. 17 pls 709–732, unnumbered pages. (as Squalus appendiculatus)

Stead, D.G. 1963. Sharks and Rays of Australian Seas. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 211 pp. 63 figs.

Stevens, J.D. 1994. Families Echinorhinidae, Squalidae, Oxynotidae, Parascyllidae, Orectolobidae. pp. 91-118 figs 28-73 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

Waite, R.E. 1899. Scientific results of the trawling expedition of H.M.C.S. "Thetis", off the coast of New South Wales, in February and March, 1898. Introduction. Memoirs of the Australian Museum 4(1): 3-23 (as Orectolobus barbatus)

Waite, E.R. 1928. Check list of the marine fishes of South Australia. Journal of the Pan-Pacific Research Institute 3(1): 3-13

White, W. 2008. Shark Families Heterodontidae to Pristiophoridae. pp. 32-100 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

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Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37013003

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Danger:Dangerous if provoked

Depth:0-218 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:170 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map