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:
Easily recognised by the yellowish to greenish-brown body with large dark saddles along the back, whitish rings on the body (including within the saddles), and 8-10 fleshy lobes around the mouth and on the sides 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:

Dianne J. Bray, 2011, Spotted Wobbegong, Orectolobus maculatus, in Fishes of Australia, accessed 27 May 2016, http://www.fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/1975

Spotted Wobbegong, Orectolobus maculatus (Bonnaterre 1788)

More Info


Distribution

Recorded from Gladstone, Queensland, around the south to Victoria, South Australia, and in Western Australia to Bessieres Island. They are absent from Tasmania and parts of Victoria. 
Spotted Wobbegongs are commonly seen around reefs, in coastal bays beneath jetties and piers, and on sandy bottoms and seagrass beds.

Size

At birth, the spotted wobbegong is about 21 cm in length. Adult males usually mature at 60 cm TL, and may grow to a maximum length of 320 cm.

Feeding

Carnivore - feeds on bony fishes and invertebrates such as crabs, lobsters and octopus. Spotted Wobbegongs are nocturnal, hunting at night and resting during the day. 

Biology

Reproductive mode: aplacental viviparous (ovoviviparous) with females giving birth to up to 37 pups.

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.

Author

Dianne J. Bray

Spotted Wobbegong, Orectolobus maculatus (Bonnaterre 1788)

References


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 Open Access

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

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., Gordon, I., Flaherty, A. & Pogonoski, J. 2009. Orectolobus maculatus. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. . Downloaded on 06 May 2012.

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.

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

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

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.

Whitley, G.P. 1940. The Fishes of Australia. Part 1. The sharks, rays, devil-fish, and other primitive fishes of Australia and New Zealand. Sydney : Roy. Zool. Soc. N.S.W. 280 pp. 303 figs. 42-43.

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37013003

Conservation:NSW Vulnerable; IUCN Near Threatened

Danger:Dangerous if provoked

Feeding:0-280 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:90 cm TL

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