PORT PHILLIP BAY


Gulf Wobbegong 

Orectolobus halei Whitley, 1940

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Meristics.
Vertebrae: (precaudal) 108-112
Jaw teeth (upper): 11 or 12-1-1-1-11 or 12
Jaw teeth (lower): 8 to 11-3-8 to 10

Additional information in:
Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) (2008) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Order level detail.
A diverse group of 7 families that includes carpet sharks, wobbegongs and the giant Whale Shark. All have a small sub-terminal mouth positioned well before the eyes, nasal barbels, a prominent groove connecting the nostrils to the mouth, and spiracles. Carpet Sharks and their relatives are found it the Indo-Pacific oceans and their greatest diversity is around Australia. Except for the Whale Shark, most live on or near the bottom in shallow coastal waters and feed at night on invertebrates and fishes.

Family level detail.
Medium to large sedentary bottom-dwelling sharks with flattened bodies, depressed heads, a large almost terminal mouth, two similar dorsal fins far back on the body, an anal fin, nasoral grooves and large spiracles. They are well-camouflaged with skin flaps along the side of the head, long barbels around the mouth and intricate colour patterns.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Craniata
Superclass:
Gnathostomata
Class:
Chondrichthyes
Subclass:
Elasmobranchii
Order:
Orectolobiformes
Family:
Orectolobidae
Genus:
Orectolobus
Species:
halei

Other Names

  • Banded Wobbegong
  • Ornate Wobbegong
  • Carpetshark

General Description

A large robust flattened shark with a very ornate colour pattern; nasal barbels brached; branched dermal lobes along the side of the head and 5-6 before the eye; two tubercles above the eye, but no tubercles along back. Yellowish-brown to greyish-brown with darker, deeply scalloped saddles, each with a black-spotted border; a prominent white spot behind each spiracle; underside pale. To at least 2.1 m.

Biology

Despite appearing sedentary, wobbegongs have sharp, dagger-like teeth and can inflict very painful injuries if disturbed. They are usually nocturnal, seen resting under ledges and in caves during the day. They feed on fishes, octopus and crustaceans, and are commercially fished, especially off New South Wales. Females give birth to live young.

Habitat

Shallow coastal to inshore continental shelf waters, in depths to 100 m.

Reefs

Soft substrates

Distribution guide

Southern Australia.

Species Group

Sharks and rays Sharks

Depth

Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

2.1 m

Diet

Carnivore

Harmful

Sharp dagger-like teeth can inflict painful injuries.

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Near Threatened

Author

article author Bray, D.J.

Di Bray is a Senior Collection Manager of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

Author

article author Gomon, M.F.

Dr. Martin Gomon is a Senior Curator of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F., 2011, Gulf Wobbegong, Orectolobus halei, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 23 Nov 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/6576

Text: creative commons cc by licence