Count me in as one of those people: wobbegong sharks are just plain weird.
The word wobbegong is rumored to come from the Australian Aboriginal word, meaning "shaggy beard," pointing to the growths around the mouth of these sharks (at least those in the western Pacific). I mean, makes sense, since they look like underwater sea hobos in a way. All unshaven and whatnot....
Those funny "whiskers" do have a purpose though, as they act as sensory barbs! So they're not just for style!
They are well camouflaged, using bold patterns and markings that resemble carpets, hence the "common" name. I mean, I wouldn't want a carpet in those patterns in my house because nothing would go with them, but I digress.
The camouflage does its job of helping them blend into the sea floor, where they hide amongst rocks and sand and can then ambush their prey (small fish, usually).
And for this, I will never trust another colorful carpet ever again.
They're flexible-- so much, they can bite their own tail! OUCH.
They have many small, but razor sharp teeth that can lead to a severe bite, even through a wetsuit. Once they have clamped down, they are known to be stubborn and not let go.
Moral of the story? Leave the wildlife alone and watch where you step.
In Australia, wobbegongs and other shark species' meat is eaten. Called "flake," it is usually the 'fish' in "fish and chips." Well, not eating THAT if I visit Oz.
- Genus Eucrossorhinus
- Eucrossorhinus dasypogon (Bleeker, 1867) (tasselled wobbegong)
- Genus Orectolobus
- Orectolobus floridus Last & Chidlow, 2008 (floral banded wobbegong)
- Orectolobus halei Whitley, 1940. (Gulf wobbegong or banded wobbegong)
- Orectolobus hutchinsi Last, Chidlow & Compagno, 2006. (western wobbegong)
- Orectolobus japonicus Regan, 1906 (Japanese wobbegong)
- Orectolobus leptolineatus Last, Pogonoski & W. T. White, 2010 (Indonesian wobbegong)
- Orectolobus maculatus (Bonnaterre, 1788) (spotted wobbegong)
- Orectolobus ornatus (De Vis, 1883) (ornate wobbegong)
- Orectolobus parvimaculatus Last & Chidlow, 2008 (dwarf spotted wobbegong)
- Orectolobus reticulatus Last, Pogonoski & W. T. White, 2008 (network wobbegong)
- Orectolobus wardi Whitley, 1939 (northern wobbegong)
- Genus Sutorectus
- Sutorectus tentaculatus (W. K. H. Peters, 1864) (cobbler wobbegong)