Name: Orectolobus maculatus
covered in small irregular brown circles edged with broken light grey or white
lines that are not also edged in black (see
Banded Wobbegong for comparison). Circular patterns overlay a tan to mid
brown base colour with 8 or 9 darker saddles starting in front of the eyes and
extending to the tip of the tail.
tubercles on head or body.
dermal lobes (skin flaps) on chin; nasal barbell branched.
6 to 10
dermal lobes split into three pre-orbital groups (below and in front of eyes) on
each side of head; Pre-orbital lobes of roughly uniform length. Two post-spiracular groups
broad based with branched tips.
320cm maximum. Recorded size at maturity of 60cm may refer to different species;
perhaps the newly described Dwarf Spotted Wobbegong?
Temperate rocky reefs and bays. Also seagrass and estuaries, tide pools and on
sand. Intertidal to 110m.
Southern Australia; New
South Wales to Western Australia. Reports from Japan are probably
IUCN Red List Status: Near threatened.
An ambush predator. Remains motionless blending with reef
structure until small fishes swim within striking range. Then, rapidly opens
mouth sucking in its prey. Actively hunts at night for octopus, crabs, and
Breeds in NSW in July. Captive
males known to fight during the mating season.
Has been recorded lumbering over
rocks in extremely shallow water with back completely exposed.
Southwest Rocks and Green Island, NSW, Australia.
There are presently 8 described species and a few undescribed species of wobbegongs.
Most can be distinguished by barbell configuration and markings but to the
untrained eye wobbegongs may look almost identical. The closely
related ornate wobbegong does not possess the distinctive light circles that are
present in the spotted wobbegongs markings. As of early 2008 the Spotted
Wobbegong has been identified as consisting of perhaps three unique species that
were until now grouped together. More information will follow once it becomes
Reaction to divers:
Remains at rest relying on camouflage unless harassed. Has been reported
to have bitten divers that got too close to its mouth even when not disturbed.
The Spotted Wobbegong is a commonly encountered species along the coast of New
South Wales. During the fall I found it to be particularly abundant at Julian
Rocks, close to Byron Bay. Julian Rocks is serviced by two dive shops in Byron
and although the boats tend to get busy, the site is large enough and so full of
wobbegongs that there are more than enough sharks to go around. Julian rocks
also supports Dwarf Ornate
Wobbegongs and Blind Sharks. During the
summer months it is also the southern end or the
Zebra Shark's range.
Southwest Rocks also contains many Spotted Wobbegong Sharks but this area is
better known for its Banded Wobbegongs.
Other diving locations submitted by
Sharks of the World - Leonard Compagno et al. Princeton Field guides.
Sharks and Rays of the World - Scott W. Michael. Sea Challengers.
and Rays - Elasmobranch Guide of the World. Ralf M. Hennemann. IKAN.