Wobbegongs are known to bite and don’t let go, when provoked or disturbed. ISAF reports 32 unprovoked attacks of species of this family, but this report states even a number of 51 unprovoked attacks solely off Australia (as shown in Table 3, “attack” may be a tad exaggerated since even close encounters count as such, but wobbegongs are notorious for biting). Fortunately, all but 2 wobbegong species reach only 4.1 ft -1.25 m- in length, but there are larger ones, too, that you do not want hanging from your leg.

The Gulf or banded wobbegong (Orectolobus halei) is up to 9.5 ft -2.9 m- long and a strong and agile ambush predator, if it wants to be.

Confused with its significantly smaller look-alike Ornate wobbegong before, the Gulf wobby was revalidated in 2006, and it was proven genetically that it is more closely related to the equally large Spotted wobbegong. Camouflaged with colored skin pattern and dermal lobes, all wobbegongs are predestined ambush predators. They are bottom-dwelling and nocturnal.

Living off the southern half of Australia at depths up to at least 640 ft -195 m- , the Gulf wobby is ovoviviparous. Like all wobbegongs, its meat is used for fish- and-chips and its skin for leather. Targeted by recreational and commercial fishermen and as bycatch, it has been considered near threatened by the IUCN (and vulnerable regionally in New South Wales) since 2009. But management and protection efforts made an impact on this site fidelity species, resulting in an assessment of least concern in 2015.

Sources: herehere, here and here

Advertisements