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Cobbler Wobbegong Shark Pictures
Shark Pictures Database
wobbegong, Cobbler carpet shark.
Name: Sutorectus tentaculatus
Dorsum covered in large dermal denticles (tubercles) giving a warty appearance.
Markings consist of dark saddles with corrugated margins, separated by thinner
pale areas with mottled dark irregular spots. Nasal barbells thin and un-branched.
Four skin flaps (1 then 2 then 1) on each side of mouth.
jaw contains two rows of small fang-like teeth. Lower jaw contains three rows.
92cm. Birth size approx 22cm.
Males mature at around 65cm.
on rocky and coral reefs. Often in kelp.
Australia, to Adelaide, Southern Australia. More common in South Australia.
Remains motionless during the day usually hidden under kelp or
ledges. Probably forages for benthic inverts. and bony fishes as well as
Conservation Status: Listed as least concernby the IUCN.
However, The Cobbler Wobbegong is a component of the bycatch of the Western
Australian temperate demersal gillnet and demersal longline fisheries. The
species, along with other wobbegong species occurring within the region, is
primarily caught by demersal gillnets off the southern and lower west coasts of
Western Australia. A fisheries-dependent survey of southwest Western Australia
fisheries reported that the Cobbler Wobbegong constituted 0.9% of total
elsamobranch catches from gillnets (Jones et al. 2010). Wobbegongs were
historically also caught by a few vessels using demersal longlines in the same
fishery until the use of that gear was restricted in 2006. The Western
Australian temperate demersal gillnet and demersal longline fisheries mean
annual wobbegong catch is about 40 tonnes per year (range 28-68 tonnes) between
1999 and 2014 and does not show any sign of decline (Department of Fisheries WA
Fishery Status Report 1998-99 to 2013-14, for example, Braccini et al. 2014).
Although wobbegong catches are generally not reported to individual species,
small wobbegongs (<150 cm) are selectively discarded alive (Chidlow et al. 2007,
R. McAuley, pers. comm,, February 2015) due to low flesh recovery rates from
smaller individual. Thus, the Cobbler Wobbegong is believed to be a minor
component of those aggregated catches. In addition, post-release survival of
wobbegongs is thought to be high.
In South Australia, the Cobbler Wobbegong is caught as bycatch in the Spencer
Gulf and Gulf St Vincent prawn trawl fishery (Currie et al. 2009, SARDI unpubl.
data). A survey of the Spencer Gulf prawn trawl fishery showed that the Cobbler
Wobbegong was caught in 11 of the 120 sites sampled (Currie et al. 2009). The
Cobbler Wobbegong is not retained and likely to have high post-release survival
Small wobbegongs also occur in commercial rock lobster pots throughout temperate
coastal Western Australian waters (Chidlow et al. 2007). However, as all sharks
and rays are now commercially protected throughout Western Australia, wobbegongs
cannot generally be retained by State managed commercial fishing vessels unless
they are operating in the managed shark fishery.
The retained catch of wobbegongs by recreational fishers off the west coast of
Australia has been estimated at approximately 1,000 animals per year (Sumner and
Williamson 1999), while the estimated annual catch during 201112 by
recreational fishing from boat licence holders was 1,535 wobbegongs, with 20% or
304 individuals retained (Ryan et al. 2013). Assuming the species composition of
recreational wobbegong catches is similar to that of the commercial gillnet
fishery, the Cobbler Wobbegong is also likely to be a minor component of
Bremer bay, Western Australia.
There are at least 12 species of wobbegongs.
Most can be distinguished by barbell configuration and markings. The tubercles
on the Cobbler
wobbegong's back easily distinguish it from other species.
Reaction to divers:
Remains at rest relying on camouflage unless harassed. I spent about
twenty minutes slowly removing kelp from around the photographed individual and
it remained motionless through the entire process.
logistics: This wobbegong can
occasionally be seen around Albany and Bremer bay in south western Australia.
Although, it may be more commonly encountered further east. If diving at Bremer
Bay contact Craig Lebens of Bremer Bay Dive Club. As well as the local charter
operator he is an expert on Sea dragons and knows each site where they occur. In
the summer months at Bremer it is also possible to find Necklace carpet sharks
in the shallows.
Huveneers, C. & Simpfendorfer, C. 2015. Sutorectus tentaculatus. The IUCN Red
List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T41864A68646166. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T41864A68646166.en.
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Sharks and Rays of Australia - CSIRO (1994)