Spotted Wobbegong

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The Spotted Wobbegong (Orectolobus maculatus) is a large wobbegong shark species that belongs to the Orectolobidae family. This species is found along the east coast of Australia from southern Queensland to eastern Victoria. There is a similar looking species found on the west coast of Australia which is similar in appearance but however appears to be a separate undescribed species. This species is often confused with the very similar looking species the Ornate Wobbegong (Orectolobus ornatus) however the Spotted Wobbegong has approximately 8-10 skin flaps on either side of the head and also has white rings covering the upper part of its body. The body is generally a dull yellow/brown colour and has several dark bands across the body. Because of the dark bands on its body it is sometimes commonly referred to as the Banded Wobbegong Shark.

This Spotted Wobbegong is generally found on offshore islands and inshore coastal reefs however juveniles are commonly found in shallow seagrass beds in estuaries. This species is known to occur in shallow water down to depths of at least 100 metres. It can often be found hiding in caves during the daytime whilst at night it becomes more active as it searches the reef for prey species. The Ornate Wobbegong is an ambush predator and is known to feed on bony fishes, small sharks, rays, cephalopods and crustaceans. This species can be dangerous to divers and snorkellers and should not be provoked.

The Spotted Wobbegong (Orectolobus maculatus ) grows to a maximum length of approximately 3.2 metres.

Family: Orectolobidae

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