Banded wobbegong, Ornate wobbegong (misidentification).
Name: Orectolobus halei
A large species of
Wobbegong with no warty tubercles on head or body; four groups of dermal
lobes (skin flaps) below and in front of eyes on each side of head; no dermal
lobes on chin; nasal barbel closest to mouth branched; five to six lobes in
second preorbital group (rarely four) with lobes at extremities usually longer
and branched; broad branched postspiracular groups.
in an intricate pattern dominated by nine dark irregular saddles edged with
black lines followed by grayish coloration. Light
brown and gray freckle-like blotches between saddles..
to be the adult form of the Ornate Wobbegong (O.ornatus), the Banded Wobbegong
has recently been elevated to species status.
To at least 206cm.
Temperate rocky reefs and bays. Intertidal to 100m.
New South Wales to Western Australia.
An ambush predator. Remains motionless blending with reef
structure until small fishes swim within striking range. Then, rapidly opens
mouth sucking in its prey. Actively hunts at night for octopus, crabs, and
Fish Rock, South West Rocks, NSW, Australia.
There are seven described species and a few undescribed species of wobbegongs.
Most can be distinguished by barbell configuration and markings. The closely
related ornate wobbegong has unbranched post-spiracular dermal lobes.
which is regionally sympatric with S. tentaculatus, O. maculatus,
O. wardi, O. hutchinsi, and two undescribed species of Orectolobus
off WA, can be distinguished from these species by the combination of the
number of dermal lobes, color pattern and the absence of tubercles.
Orectolobus hutchinsi has slender unbranched postspiracular lobes (broad and
branched in O. halei and O. maculatus) and a distinctive yellowish
brown upper body coloration with well-defined, darker brown saddles containing
paler markings that lacks whitish rings and blotches (unlike O. ornatus
and O. maculatus) (Last et al., 2006). Sutorectus tentaculatus
has large rounded tubercles on both the head and body, not present in the
adults of other members of the family Orectolobidae. Orectolobus maculatus
has six to ten dermal lobes, O. wardi has unbranched nasal barbels,
whereas O. halei has five dermal lobes and branched nasal barbels.
Orectolobus wardi has a simple color pattern with fewer dark spots, while
O. maculatus and O. halei have a more elaborate pattern of variegated
spots and saddles. Orectolobus maculatus has white Oshaped spots and
white blotches that are absent in O. halei.
Redescription of two
species of wobbegongs (Chondrichthyes: Orectolobidae) with elevation of
Orectolobus halei Whitley 1940 to species level.
CHARLIE HUVENEERS 2006.
Reaction to divers:
Remains at rest relying on camouflage unless harassed. Has been reported
to have bitten divers that got too close to its mouth even when not disturbed.
Banded Wobbegong is a commonly encountered species in New Sout Wales. One dive
spot with an abundant population is Fish Rock. Fish Rock Dive in NSW organize
daily trips out to this site. Grey Nurse Sharks, Ornate Wobbegongs and large
Bull Rays may also be encountered.
Other diving locations submitted by
Redescription of two species of
wobbegongs (Chondrichthyes: Orectolobidae) with elevation of Orectolobus
halei Whitley 1940 to species level. CHARLIE HUVENEERS 2006.
Sharks and Rays of the World. Scott W. Michael. Sea Challengers.
and Rays - Elasmobranch Guide of the World. Ralf M. Hennemann. IKAN.