Click on the language to view common names.
Common Names in Danish:
Australsk Sk, Australsk Skæghaj, Plettet wobbegong
Common Names in Dutch:
Common Names in English:
Carpet Shark, Common Carpet Shark, Common Catshark, spotted wobbegong, Tassel Shark, Wobbegong
Common Names in Finnish:
Common Names in French:
Requin tapis, Requin-Tapis Tachet, Requin-tapis tacheté
Common Names in German:
Australischer Ammenhai, Wobbegong
Common Names in Italian:
Common Names in Japanese:
Common Names in Mandarin Chinese:
斑紋鬚鯊, 斑纹须鲨, 斑须鲛, 斑鬚鮫, 虎沙, 虎鯊, 虎鲨, 豆腐鯊, 豆腐鲨
Common Names in Portuguese:
Common Names in Spanish:
Tapicero manchado, Tibur, Tiburón alfombra
Common Names in Swedish:
Fl, Fläckig Wobbegong
Species Orectolobus maculatus
Distinctive Features: The body and head
of the spotted wobbegong
is flattened. The mouth
is located in front of the eyes and has a
protruding jaw that aids in the capture
. It has nasal
and 8 to 10 dermal
around the mouth and on the sides of the
head. The first spineless dorsal fin starts over the pelvic
and the anal fin originates behind
the second dorsal fin origin
The caudal fin is much shorter than the rest of the body, and the
and pelvic fins are broad. Spotted wobbegong sharks
also characterized by the presense of large spiracles, nasoral and
, and the absence of caudal keels and ridges
on the body. While other species of wobbegong are similar in appearance
is distinctive for the spotted wobbegong.
Dentition: The teeth of the spotted wobbegong are described as enlarged fangs; they are long, slender, and sharp. There are two lateral rows in the upper jaw and three lateral rows in the lower jaw.
The spotted wobbegong is generally pale yellow or greenish brown with large, dark saddles down the center of its back and many small, white O-shaped markings over its entire back. The pattern serves as camouflage .
The average size of the spotted wobbegong at birth is 8.3 inches (21 cm) total length. Most adult males mature at 23.6 inches (60 cm) and may reach a maximum length of 126 inches (320 cm) total length. However, the average size of an adult male is 59 to 71 inches (150-180 cm) total length
Found on the continental shelf, from the intertidal down to at least 110 m . Commonly on coral and rocky reefs, under piers , and on sand bottom . May occur in water barely deep enough to cover the fish, and has been observed climbing ridges between tide pools with its back out of water. Nocturnal (Ref. 247). Occurring on continental shelves, from the intertidal zone down to 360 feet (110 m), the spotted wobbegong is commonly found on or around reefs, under piers, and on sandy bottoms. There have been many sightings of this shark in water barely deep enough to cover its entire body. It is considered sluggish and inactive and is often found resting on the ocean floor.
Typically found in water with a depth of 0 to -864 meters (0 to -2,835 feet).
Compagno (2001) describes this species as ?an abundant, temperate
to offshore bottom
of the continental
shelves of the western Pacific, commonly on coral
and rocky reefs,
in coastal bays
, in estuaries, in seagrass beds
, under piers
on sandy bottoms.? Juveniles
occur in estuaries and are occasionally
found over seagrass beds. It can occur in water barely deep enough
it, and has been observed climbing
between tide pools
with its back out of water (Compagno 2001). In a study in Port
NSW, a sympatric species of wobbegong (O. ornatus) was shown
to prefer sponge gardens, artificial structures and barren boulders
with a high topographic complexity and crevice volume (Carraro
and Gladsone 2006). However, O. ornatus did not seem to
select habitat on the basis of prey
availability and habitat selection
may therefore be related to predator
avoidance (Carraro and Gladsone
2006). Orectolobus maculatus occurs inshore on the continental
shelf to at least 218 m
depth (Kyne et al.
2005). It is
often found in murkier water than the closely related O. Halei
(Lieske and Myers 1994).
A survey on wobbegongs shows evidence of site-attachment with divers observing individual sharks in exactly the same positions over consecutive dives (The Ecology Lab 1991). Furthermore, a sympatric species of wobbegong (O. halei) has been recorded within the same area for over 2.5 years (Huveneers et al. 2006, Huveneers unpub. Data ), and another sympatric species of wobbegong (O. ornatus) has been re-sighted within a 75 hectares area for a period of over 211 days suggesting site fidelity (Carraro and Gladstone 2006).
Compagno (2001) describes this shark as a nocturnal species that rests on the bottom during the day in caves, under ledges on reefs, and in trenches and that undertakes nocturnal excursions away from resting areas. As a primarily nocturnal feeder, it preys on bottom invertebrates and fishes (Last and Stevens 1994). Compagno (2001) cites the prey of O. maculatus as bony fishes, sharks, rays, cephalopods and crustaceans. A NSW study found elasmobranchs, osteichthyes (reef, benthic and a few pelagic fishes, and moray eels ) and cephalopods as prey items (Huveneers et al. 2007a). No crustaceans were found in the stomachs of O. maculatus caught in the NSW. Sampled sharks were, however, mostly large juveniles and adults (>100 cm TL ), and it is possible that crustaceans are part of neonates or small juveniles diet .
Although O. maculatus was reported to mature at about 60 cm (Compagno, 2001), this size-at-maturity is likely to be related to the dwarf morph from WA, whereas O. maculatus matures at about 120 cm (Huveneers et al. 2007b). Similar to O. ornatus and O. halei, O. maculatus has a triennial reproductive cycle with follicles taking two years to enlarge before ovulation. During the first year, follicles remain small, then grow rapidly during the second year prior to ovulation during November. Gestation lasts about 10?11 months with parturition occurring during September?October (Huveneers et al. 2007b). O. maculatus is lecithotrophic viviparous with a litter size of about 21 with up to 37 young recorded (Grant 1978) and a size-at-birth of about 23 cm TL (Huveneers et al. 2007b). Maximum length is about 320cm, but with most individuals caught being smaller, up to 150?180 cm (Compagno 2001).
Age and growth of O. maculatus was attempted but could not be verified or validated (Chidlow, 2003, Huveneers 2007). Furthermore, different age estimations for wobbegongs were obtained if using whole vertebrae or thin cut sections (Huveneers 2007). Newborn captive O. Maculatus grew about 22 cm year-1, whereas small juveniles of about 45 cm TL grew about 18 cm year-1 (Huveneers 2007)..
List of Habitats:
- 9 Marine Neritic
- 9.2 Marine Neritic - Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs
- 9.3 Marine Neritic - Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel
- 9.4 Marine Neritic - Subtidal Sandy
- 9.5 Marine Neritic - Subtidal Sandy-Mud
- 9.7 Marine Neritic - Macroalgal/Kelp
- 9.8 Marine Neritic - Coral Reef
- 9.8.1 Outer Reef Channel
- 9.8.2 Back Slope
- 9.8.3 Foreslope (Outer Reef Slope)
- 9.8.4 Lagoon
- 9.8.5 Inter-Reef Soft Substrate
- 9.8.6 Inter-Reef Rubble Substrate
- 9.9 Marine Neritic - Seagrass (Submerged)
- 9.10 Marine Neritic - Estuaries
- 10 Marine Oceanic
- 10.1 Marine Oceanic - Epipelagic (0-200m)
- 12 Marine Intertidal
- 12.1 Marine Intertidal - Rocky Shoreline
- 12.2 Marine Intertidal - Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars , Spits , Etc
- 12.3 Marine Intertidal - Shingle and/or Pebble Shoreline and/or Beaches
- 12.6 Marine Intertidal - Tidepools
- 13 Marine Coastal/Supratidal
- 13.2 Marine Coastal/supratidal - Coastal Caves/Karst
- 15 Artificial/Aquatic & Marine
- 15.11 Artificial/Marine - Marine Anthropogenic Structures [more info]
Feeds on bottom invertebrates and bony fishes. Favorite foods of the spotted wobbegong include invertebrates such as crabs, lobsters, and octopi as well as bony fish such as sea bass and luderick. This shark is nocturnal , hunting at night and resting during the day. O. maculatus can extend its reach during prey capture by as much as 30% of the nasal distance from its anteriormost point to the anterior edge of the pectoral fin. This is equivalent to the combined length of the head and branchial arches. The spotted wobbegong often sits at the bottom and waits for prey to wander near its mouth . Prey have even been known to nibble on this shark's tentacles before being eaten. Other times this shark has been observed to slowly sneak up on its prey from a long distance.
The spotted wobbegong is ovoviviparous, giving birth to a large number of full term embryos. One female was reported to give birth to a record of 37 young. During breeding season , the male is attracted to the female by chemical pheromones that she releases into the water. In the mating process , the male often bites the female in the region of the gills and inserts one clasper into the cloaca to deliver sperm .
Any large fish or marine mammals are potential predators of the spotted wobbegong. Known to bite people that step on it or put their feet near its mouth , and can and will bite when molested and provoked .
The onchobothriid tetraphyllidean cestode is one known parasite of the spotted wobbegong. Thirty-three species of this cestode are parasitic to the spiral intestine of this shark ; they are of the genus Acanthobothrium. The nematode Echinocephalus overstreeti is also a known parasite of this shark.
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- C. Linnaeus, 1758
- (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Grobben, 1908
- (Haeckel, 1874) Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Bateson, 1885
- Cuvier, 1812
- Infraphylum: Gnathostomata () - auct. - Jawed Vertebrates
- Subphylum: Vertebrata () - Cuvier, 1812 - Vertebrates
- Phylum: Chordata () - Bateson, 1885 - Chordates
- Infrakingdom: Chordonia () - (Haeckel, 1874) Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Branch: Deuterostomia () - Grobben, 1908
- Subkingdom: Bilateria () - (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Kingdom: Animalia () - C. Linnaeus, 1758 - animals
Orectolobus maculatus • Squalus appendiculatus • Squalus appendiculatus Shaw • Squalus barbatus • Squalus barbatus Gmelin • Squalus labiatus Bleeker • Squalus lobatus • Squalus lobatus Bloch and Schneider • Squalus maculatus • Squalus maculatus Bonnaterre • Squalus maculatus Bonnaterre, 1788
Status: Accepted Name
Last scrutiny: Data last modified by FishBase 27-Oct-2000
Often confused with O. halei, but differs from O. halei by having more (6-10 dermal lobes at the posterior preorbital group) and saddles containing whitish rings and blotches (unlike O. halei).
Western Australia (WA) populations of O. maculatus appear to include at least two species with a dwarf morph similar to O. maculatus but maturing at a smaller total length (J. Chidlow pers. comm. ). Clearly, further taxonomic research on the WA populations is warranted.
Assessment is complicated by taxonomic uncertainties of apparent specimens from Japan and South China Seas , but due to the probable invalid nature of these records , this species should be considered an Australian endemic at present (L.J.V. Compagno, March 2003, pers. comm. ). (Ref. 292397).
Members of the genus Orectolobus
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 10 species and subspecies in this genus:
O. dasypogon (Tasselled Wobbegong) · O. floridus (Floral Banded Wobbegong) · O. halei (Banded Wobbegong) · O. hutchinsi (Western Wobbegong) · O. japonicus (Japanese Carpet Shark) · O. maculatus (Carpet Shark) · O. ornatus (Dwarf Ornate Wobbegong) · O. parvimaculatus (Dwarf Spotted Wobbegong) · O. reticulatus (Network Wobbegong) · O. wardi (North Australian Wobbegong)
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- Bulletin - United States National Museum. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, [etc.];1877-1971. url p. 95.
- Dean bibliography of fishes. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1971-1973. url p. 11, p. 187, p. 224.
- Memoirs of the Museum of Comparative Zoölogy, at Harvard College, Cambridge, Mass. Cambridge [Mass.]: The Museum, 1876-1940. url p. 52.
- Memoirs of the Queensland Museum. Brisbane, Queensland Museum, 1912- url p. 75.
- Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland. [Brisbane, Royal Society of Queensland]1885- url p. 9.
- Records of the South Australian Museum / Public Library, Museum, and Art Gallery of South Australia. Adelaide: Published under the authority of the board of governors and edited by the museum director, 1918- url p. 15.
- Shadows in the sea: the sharks, skates and rays [by] Harold W. McCormick and Tom Allen, with William E. Young. Philadelphia, Chilton Books url figure , figure , p. 311, p. 312.
- The Australian zoologist. Sydney, Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales url p. 174, p. 221.
- The Plagiostomia: Sharks, skates, and rays / by Samuel Garman; with seventy-seven plates. 36 1913 Cambridge, U.S.A.: Printed for the Museum, 1913. url p. 52.
- Bisby, F.A., Y.R. Roskov, M.A. Ruggiero, T.M. Orrell, L.E. Paglinawan, P.W. Brewer, N. Bailly, J. van Hertum, eds (2007). Species 2000 and ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2007 Annual Checklist. Species 2000: Reading, U.K.
- Brands, S.J. (comp.) 1989-present. The Taxonomicon. Universal Taxonomic Services, Zwaag, The Netherlands. Accessed January 15, 2012.
- Eagle, Dane. Florida Museum of Natural History
- FishBase. Release date: January 5, 2010
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Accessed March 01, 2008. http://www.gbif.org Mediated distribution data from 3 providers.
- Huveneers, C. Pollard, D., Gordon, I., Flaherty, A. & Pogonoski, J. 2009. Orectolobus maculatus. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloadedon 03February2012.
- IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. . Downloaded on January 28, 2012.
- Ruggiero M., Gordon D., Bailly N., Kirk P., Nicolson D. (2011). The Catalogue of Life Taxonomic Classification, Edition 2, Part A. In: Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2011 Annual Checklist (Bisby F.A., Roskov Y.R., Orrell T.M., Nicolson D., Paglinawan L.E., Bailly N., Kirk P.M., Bourgoin T., Baillargeon G., Ouvrard D., eds). DVD; Species 2000: Reading, UK.
- Smith-Vaniz, William F. (from FishBase 2006.).
Accessed through GBIF Data Portal March 01, 2008:
- Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University: CSIRO Marine Data Warehouse (OBIS Australia)
- Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History: Vertebrate specimens
- OZCAM (Online Zoological Collections of Australian Museums) Provider: Online Zoological Collections of Australian Museums
- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 133855
- Catalogue of Life Accepted Name Code: Fis-23201
- Fishbase Species ID: 758
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility Taxonkey: 13536119
- Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Taxonomic Serial Number (TSN): 159866
- IUCN ID: 228488
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 118904
- Compagno, L.J.V. (1984). FAO species catalogue. Vol. 4. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Part 1. Hexanchiformes to Lamniformes. FAO Fish. Synop. (125, Vol. 4, Part 1), 249 p. [back]
- Mean = -422.000 meters (-1,384.514 feet), Standard Deviation = 625.080 based on 2 observations. Ocean depth information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
- Huveneers, C. Pollard, D., Gordon, I., Flaherty, A. & Pogonoski, J. 2009. Orectolobus maculatus. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 03 February 2012. [back]
- Dulvy, N.K. and J.D. Reynolds (1997). Evolutionary transitions among egg-laying, live-bearing and maternal inputs in sharks and rays. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 264:1309-1315. [back]