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Eucrossorhinus dasypogon:   (click for more)

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Synonyms
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  • Orectolobus ogilbyi  Regan, 1909: 529. New name for Orectolobus dasypogon Ogilby and McCulloch, 1908: 272, pl. 43, fig. 1. Syntypes: Two specimens from Torres Strait and Samarai, Papua-New Guinea, including one 1 210 mm long, according to Ogilby and McCulloch. Eschmeyer (1998: CD-ROM) identified one of these as Australian Museum, Sydney, AMS I.5405.
    Other Combinations:  Orectolobus dasypogon (Bleeker, 1867).
    FAO Names
    En - Tasselled wobbegong, Fr - Requin-tapis barbu, Sp - Tapicero barbudo.
    3Alpha Code: ORE     Taxonomic Code: 1070200101
    Scientific Name with Original Description
    Crossorhinus dasypogon  Bleeker, 1867, Arch. Neerl. Sci. Nat. 2: 400, pl. 21, fig. 1. Syntypes: Rikjsmuseum van Natuurlijke Histoire, Leiden, RMNH 7411 (1) Waigiu (Waigeo), RMNH 5118 (1) Aru, Indonesia, according to Eschmeyer (1998, Cat. Fish.: CD-ROM). Uncertain status: British Museum (Natural History), BMNH-1867.11.28.209, 215 mm immature male and noted as a syntype by Compagno (1984, FAO Fish. Syn. (125), 4 (1): 179) from documentation on the specimen.
    Diagnostic Features
    fieldmarks: This squat, broad, angler-like shark is unmistakable, with profuse, highly branched dermal lobes on its head, a beard of similar lobes on its chin, and reticulated colour pattern of narrow dark lines and dark spots at their junctions on a light background. It is also recognizable by having its mouth in front of eyes, a symphysial groove on chin, very broad pectoral and pelvic fins, two spineless dorsal fins and an anal fin, the first dorsal-fin origin opposite the pelvic-fin hindbases, and the anal-fin origin well behind the second dorsal-fin origin.

    Head very broad, its width slightly greater than its length from snout tip to fifth gill openings. Chin with a bushy beard of highly branched dermal lobes. Dermal lobes of sides and front of head highly branched and numerous, in approximately 24 to 26 pairs, forming a virtually continuous fringe from snout tip to pectoral-fin bases. Nasal barbels branched, with complex multiple lobes. Mouth broad, width about 11% of total length. Head and body without enlarged tubercles on body, except for those above eyes. Trunk very broad, width across pectoral-fin insertions about equal to head length. Precaudal tail rather short, distance from pelvic-fin insertion to lower caudal origin about equal to head length. Interspace between first and second dorsal fins longer than first dorsal-fin inner margin and slightly more than half first dorsal-fin base.  Pectoral and pelvic fins very large, distance from pectoral-fin insertions to pelvic-fin origins about equal to pectoral-fin bases and less than pelvic-fin lengths from origins to free rear tips. Dorsal fins high and short, height of first dorsal fin about equal to its base length, length of first dorsal fin base less than pelvic-fin length. Origin of first dorsal fin opposite posterior fourth of pelvic-fin bases.  Dorsal surface with a reticular pattern of narrow dark lines on a light background, with scattered symmetrical enlarged dark dots at the junction of lines. 
    Geographical Distribution

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    Western South Pacific: Indonesia (Waigeo, Aru), New Guinea, Malaysia?, northern Australia (northern Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia).
    Habitat and Biology
    A little-known inshore and offshore tropical bottom shark, present inshore and on coral reefs, commonly seen on coral heads, and in reef channels and reef faces. Michael (1993) suggested that this species was an obligate coral-reef dweller.

    Commonly seen on the northern Great Barrier Reef; rests on the bottom with its tail curled. This nocturnal species is said to be a faster swimmer than other wobbegongs (Whitley and Pollard, 1980), but its more flattened shape, exquisite camouflage, and bushy dermal flaps suggests the reverse, that it might be more sluggish than other wobbegongs. It is thought to be solitary (Michael, 1993), and individuals are seen resting in caves and under ledges in the day, but may leave their retreats at night to feed. Individuals apparently have a small home range and several retreats within it.
    Probably ovoviviparous, though reproductive biology is little known.  Feeds on bottom fishes and possibly invertebrates, and is known to eat nocturnal teleost fishes such as squirrelfish and soldierfish (Holocentridae) and sweepers (Pempheridae) that share their caves.
    Size
    Maximum said to be 366 cm but this is uncertain and thought by Last and Stevens (1994) to be incorrect; maximum reliably to 125 cm. Born at about 20 cm; the 215 mm possible syntype in the British Museum (Natural History) is newborn or close to it. Reaches 125 cm; an adult male from New Guinea with calcified claspers and examined by the writer (see above) was only 117 cm long.
    Interest to Fisheries
    Interest to fisheries uncertain and probably minimal; the tough skin with its handsome reticulated colour pattern is occasionally used for leather.



    Conservation Status : The conservation status of this species is uncertain, but should be of concern because of its limited distribution and habitat on reefs, including poorly protected areas outside Australian territorial waters that are subject to habitat destruction from pollution and bad fishing practices such as dynamiting, netting and poisoning reefs.
    Local Names
    Widespread : Bearded wobbegong ,  Ogilby's wobbegong ,  Tasselled wobbegong .
    Remarks
    Threat to humans: According to an informant quoted by Whitley (1940), this shark "...attacks and generally kills the natives" in Papua-New Guinea, but this is questionable. This shark no doubt should be treated with respect like other wobbegongs, but its fearsome reputation may be greatly exaggerated and may well evaporate as its biology becomes better known. Divers commonly approach and photograph the tasselled wobbegong during the daytime, without inciting agonistic behaviour, though probably stepping on or near this well-camouflaged shark might cause it to bite at least in self-defence or by possibly mistaking a human foot for prey. Michael (1993) thought that it was more likely to bite people than other wobbegongs, and has bitten divers without provocation several times. It is kept in aquaria in the United States and probably elsewhere and is viewed by ecotouristic divers in Australia. It makes a spectacular subject for display and photography.
    Source of Information
    Sharks of the world An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Volume 2 Bullhead, mackerel and carpet sharks (Heterodontiformes, Lamniformes and Orectolobiformes). Leonard J.V. Compagno 2001.  FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 1, Vol. 2. Rome, FAO. 2001. p.269.
    Bibliography
    Compagno, 1984
    Dingerkus, 1986
    Fowler, 1941
    Garman, 1913
    Last & Stevens, 1994
    Marshall, 1965
    Ogilby & McCulloch, 1908
    Regan, 1908a, c, 1909
    Whitley, 1940
    Whitley & Pollard, 1980
     
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