Ornate Wobbegong

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The Ornate Wobbegong (Orectolobus ornatus) is a large wobbegong shark species that belongs to the Orectolobidae elasmobranch family. This species is found in the waters of the western Pacific Ocean and has been recorded in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and along the east coast of Australia. This species is easily confused with the very similar looking Spotted Wobbegong (Orectolobus maculatus). The Ornate Wobbegong can be recognised by the 5 to 6 lobes on each side of its head and the bluish-grey coloured spots on the upper part of the body. The rings around the spots are a bluish colour compared to the rings of the Spotted Wobbegong which are white.

This species is generally found on offshore islands and inshore coastal reefs however it is also commonly found in estuaries with clean water. It can be found in the intertidal zone down to depths of at least 50 metre and large individuals are often found on deep water shipwrecks. It can often be found lying in crevices, occasionally in small aggregations. The Ornate Wobbegong is an ambush predator and is known to feed on bony fishes, small sharks, rays, cephalopods and crustaceans. It is considered to be a nocturnal species as it more active at night when it goes searching for prey. This species can be dangerous to divers and should not be provoked; the pulling on a wobbegong shark tail is not a good idea. The Ornate Wobbegong (Orectolobus ornatus) grows to a maximum length of approximately 3 metres.

Family: Orectolobidae

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