FLORAL BANDED WOBBEGONG
One of the smallest and most beautiful wobbegongs
The Floral Banded wobbegong (Orectolobus floridus) is a recently described species of wobbegong shark belonging to the family Orectolobidae. It is found in the Indian Ocean off southwestern Australia. The Floral Banded wobbegong has a beautiful pattern and is one of the smallest sharks in its family.
Family: Orectolobidae – Wobbegongs
Common Name– Carpet Sharks
Common Name– Wobbegongs
Status: IUCN Red List LEAST CONCERN
Average Size and Length: They have a maximum recorded length of up to 75 cm/ 2.5 feet. One female was recorded at 71.4 cm/ 2.4 feet.
Teeth and Jaw: There are 18-20 teeth in the upper jaw, medial row at symphysis of upper jaw is absent. Like all wobbegongs, it has a short mouth and broad pharynx, which allow it to suck up prey more easily. The teeth are fang-like.
Head: The nasal barbels have 2 simple lobes. The postspiracular lobes are poorly developed, the distance across the preorbital group is 1.2-1.4 times the interspace between the preorbital group and the postspiracular lobe (PO/PO-PS1), is 12-14 times the base length of the anterior postspiracular lobe (PO/PS1). The base of the anterior postspiracular lobe is 9-12 in its distance from postorbital group (PO- PS1/PS1), 5-6 in its distance from the posterior postspiracular lobe (PS1-PS2/PS1). The eyes are small with larger spiracles behind them. Above the eye is a weak tubercle.
Denticles: The back is without wart-like tubercles.
Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Floral Banded wobbegong can be found in the eastern Indian Ocean in southwestern Australia. They are considered pelagic-neritic with a depth range of between 138-279 feet. They prefer tropical waters.
Ram-Suction Index: They are high on the RSI, sucking in and impaling prey on their large teeth.
Aesthetic Identification: The Floral Banded wobbegong is very beautiful. When fresh, they have a dorsal coloration that is strongly ornamented, mottled yellowish brown. The side of the head has black spots. The dorsal fins are low, raked, and are not upright. The first dorsal fin origin is over the mid pelvic-fin base. The interdorsal space is 0.3-0.4 times the anal fin base length. The anal fin inner margin is 1.1-1.2 times the anal fin posterior margin.
Biology and Reproduction: Not much is known about the biology or reproduction of the Floral Banded wobbegong. They are more than likely ovoviviparous. There are 47-52 monospondylous centra. There are 145-150 total vertebral centra.
Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: Their behavior is unknown, but more than likely they are nocturnal and skilled ambush predators like their family members.
Speed: More than likely slow like its family members. They probably use their large pectoral and pelvic fins to crawl across the bottom.
Floral Banded Wobbegong Future and Conservation: They are currently of least concern.
Floral Banded 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.
Last, P.R. and J.A. Chidlow, 2008. Two new wobbegong sharks, Orectolobus floridus sp. nov. and O. parvimaculatus sp. nov. (Orectolobiformes: Orectolobidae), from southwestern Australia. Zootaxa 1673:49-67.