COBBLER WOBBEGONG

A shark with rows of warty dermal denticles along its back

The Cobbler wobbegong (Sutorectus tentaculatus), is a shark belonging to the family Orectolobidae. It is the only member of the genus Sutorectus. It is found in the eastern Indian Ocean around south and western Australia. It is frequently found in rocky and coral reef areas. Cobbler wobbegongs reach a length of 3 feet. It has unbranched dermal lobes on the head, rows of warty tubercles along the back and black spots on the body and fins.

 

Family: Orectolobidae – Wobbegongs

Genus: Sutorectus 

Species: tentaculatus

Taxonomy:

Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles

OrderOrectolobiformes

Common NameCarpet Sharks

Family– Orectolobidae

Common NameWobbegongs

GenusSutorectus

Speciestentaculatus

Status: IUCN Red List LEAST CONCERN

Average Size and Length: They are born around 22 cm/ 8.7 inches. Mature males have been measured at 2.1 feet. The maximum recorded has been 92 cm/ 3 feet. They may possibly grow larger, but this is currently unconfirmed.

Teeth and Jaw: Like all wobbegongs, it has a short mouth and broad pharynx, which allow it to suck up prey more easily. The teeth are long and fang-like, but not as long as most wobbegongs.

Head: The head is narrow, and the chin is smooth. There are simple, unbranched nasal barbels. The eyes are small and are in front of larger spiracles.

Denticles: There are a few slender, short, unbranched dermal lobes on the sides of the head that form isolated groups broadly separated from one another, in 4 to 6 pairs. There are rows of large, warty dermal tubercles on the back of the dorsal fins.

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Cobbler wobbegong can be found in the eastern Indian Ocean in south and western Australia (26°S – 35°S, 113°E – 139°E). They can be found over rocky and coral reefs and in seaweed. They prefer temperate environments inshore on the continental shelf. Their depths are currently unknown.

Ram-Suction Index: They are high on the RSI, sucking in and impaling prey on their large teeth.

Aesthetic Identification: The Cobbler wobbegong has a prominent pattern. They have broad dark dorsal saddles with jagged, corrugated edges separated by light areas with irregular dark spots. The Cobbler wobbegong is a lot slenderer and less flattened than most other wobbegongs. The dorsal fins are very low and long. The height is half the base length.

Biology and Reproduction: The biology and reproduction of the Cobbler wobbegong is mostly unknown. They are presumably ovoviviparous.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Their behavior is mostly unknown, but more than likely the Cobbler wobbegong is nocturnal like its family members. Which would mean they could be inactive by day, and highly skilled and disguised ambush predators by night.

Speed: More than likely slow like its family members. They probably use their large pectoral and pelvic fins to crawl across the bottom.

Cobbler Wobbegong Future and Conservation: They are currently listed as least concern. They are commonly caught as bycatch but returned to the sea alive.

Cobbler Wobbegong Recorded Attacks on Humans: They could be potentially dangerous due to their powerful bite if they are provoked. Their bite force is extremely strong, and they tend to latch on and not let go. They are typically docile towards humans, but again if they are provoked, they will defend themselves.