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Ornate Wobbegong Shark
Threat Level: low
Scientific name..........Orectolobus Ornatus
Common names........Gulf wobbegong, banded wobbegong
The ornate wobbegong has a large, black-bordered, saddle-shaped markings on the back. The body is flattened and wide from the head to the back of the trunk, where it quickly tapers to the tail. On each side of the head there are five or six dermal lobes. Each nostril bears a single barbel and there is a groove from the back of each nostril to the mouth. This is one of four wobbegong species in the genus Orectolobus.
The maximum size of these sharks are about 10 feet long and pups are born at 7.8 inches.
The teeth are long and slender, well adapted for grasping small fish prey.
Ornate wobbegongs have a strong variegated pattern of obvious broad dark, dorsal saddles with light spots and conspicuous black, corrugated borders, interspaced with lighter areas and conspicuous dark, light-centred spots.
They feed on bony fishes, sharks, rays, cephalopods and crustaceans.
Nocturnal, resting singly and piled in aggregations by day in caves, under ledges and in trenches. Prowls at night.
Found in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Irian Jaya and Indonesia. It is also reported in Japanese waters, although records from this locality probably represent a different species. They occur in bays, seaweed-covered rock and coral reefs on coast and around offshore islands. Also in lagoons, reef flats and faces, and reef channels, intertidal to depths of 328 feet. Prefers clear water.
These sharks are ovoviviparous, females produce litters of 12 pups, each about 8 inches long.
They are considered dangerous, particularly when provoked, captured, or stepped on. Divers should be cautious because this species can easily camouflage itself against the sea floor, numerous provoked and unprovoked attacks have been documented.
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