Meridian Adventure Dive bring you the monthly Raja Ampat Creature Feature series: Tasselled-Wobbegong Shark
Wobbegong sharks are a group of relatively large, bottom-dwelling sharks that belong to the family Orectolobidae. They are known for their unique appearance and fascinating behaviour. These sharks are found in the warm waters of Raja Ampat.
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Appearance: Wobbegongs have a distinctive appearance with flattened bodies and broad, flattened heads, the mottled colouration that helps them blend into their surroundings, and numerous dermal lobes and flaps that resemble tassels or fringes. They have a wide mouth and several rows of sharp teeth to catch prey.
Camouflage: One of the most remarkable features of wobbegong sharks is their intricate and highly effective camouflage. Their skin is covered in detailed markings resembling a seafloor or coral reef, allowing them to blend seamlessly into their surroundings. This camouflage helps them ambush unsuspecting prey.
Lifestyle: Wobbegongs are primarily nocturnal predators, spending much time resting on the seafloor during the day. They are ambush predators, relying on camouflage to hide and surprise their prey, often including small fish and invertebrates.
Habitat: These sharks are commonly found in shallow coastal waters, coral reefs, and rocky seabeds. They prefer areas with plenty of hiding spots to blend in with their surroundings.
Behaviour: Wobbegongs are generally slow-moving sharks, using their strong jaws and sharp teeth to capture prey that comes too close. They can quickly strike and engulf their prey. Due to their reliance on camouflage, wobbegongs are often inadvertently stepped on or disturbed by swimmers or divers, which can lead to defensive bites.
Species Diversity: There are several species of wobbegong sharks, each with slightly different characteristics. Some common species include the spotted wobbegong, the ornate wobbegong, and the banded wobbegong.
Tasselled wobbegong sharks play a role in maintaining the harmony of marine ecosystems by controlling populations of prey species. They also contribute to the overall biodiversity of coral reef environments.
When diving or snorkelling in areas with tasselled wobbegong sharks, it's essential to approach them with caution and respect for their space. Like all marine creatures, they deserve protection and responsible interactions with humans to ensure their continued presence in the oceans.
About Meridian Adventure Dive
Situated in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, Meridian Adventure Dive is a PADI 5 Star Resort and winner of the PADI Green Star award. Scuba divers enjoy our professional services that have become synonymous with both the PADI and Meridian Adventure names.