Maybe the smallest wobbegong

The Network wobbegong (Orectolobus reticulates), is a recently described species of shark belonging to the family Orectolobidae. It can be found in somewhat shallow waters off Kimberley and Darwin in north-western Australia. It may be the smallest species of wobbegong at 52.3 cm/ 1.7 feet.


Family: Orectolobidae – Wobbegongs

Genus: Orectolobus

Species: reticulates


Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameCarpet Sharks

Family– Orectolobidae

Common NameWobbegongs




Average Size and Length: The maximum recorded length has been a female measuring 52.3 cm/ 1.7 feet. One male adolescent was measured at 50.3 cm/ 1.6 feet.

Teeth and Jaw: There are about 21 tooth rows in upper jaw. There is no medial row at the symphysis of the upper jaw. Like all wobbegongs, it has a short mouth and broad pharynx, which allow it to suck up prey more easily.

Head: They have simple nasal barbels, thallate, without any other lobes. They have poorly developed postspiracular lobes. The posterior postspiracular lobe (PS2) is simple, narrow or weakly thallate, and smaller than the anterior postspiracular lobe (PS1). The distance across the preorbital group is 1.3-1.6 times the interspace between the preorbital group and anterior postspiracular lobe (PO/PO-PS1), 4.2-5.4 times base length of anterior postspiracular lobe (PO/PS1). The base of the anterior postspiracular lobe is 3.3-3.9 in its distance from postorbital group (PO-PS1/PS1), 1.5-2.1 in its distance from the posterior postspiracular lobe (PS1-PS2/PS1). The tubercle above the eye is prominent.

Denticles: There are no wart-like tubercles on the back. The interorbital denticles are widely spaced.  

Demographic, Distribution, Habitat, Environment and Range: The Network wobbegong can be found in the Indian and western Oceans around Australia It has been found in shallow waters off Kimberly and Darwin. They are considered to be tropical benthopelagic at a depth range of between 0-66 feet.

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

Aesthetic Identification: The Network wobbegong has a strong color pattern with dark saddles, spots and fine reticulations. The anterior margins are strongly crenulate. They have tall, upright dorsal fins. The origin of the first dorsal fin is over the mid pelvic fin base. The interdorsal space is between 0.3-0.5 times the anal fin base length. The anal fin inner margin is between 0.4-0.6 times its anal fin posterior margin.

Biology and Reproduction: There are 46-49 monospondylous centra. There are 141-147 total vertebral centra. More than likely they are ovoviviparous.

Behavioral Traits, Sensing and Intelligence: They are more than likely nocturnal. They are sluggish and inactive by day, spending the day in caves, under overhangs and in channels. They can be found singularly or in aggregations.

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

Network Wobbegong Future and Conservation: There is not enough data to evaluate.

Network 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, Pogonoski & White, 2008