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Orectolobus ornatus:   (click for more)

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  • Orectolobus devisi  Ogilby, 1916: 181. Unnecessary replacement name for Crossorhinus ornatus De Vis, 1883, presumed by Ogilby to be preoccupied by Bonaparte's (1834) inclusion of Scyllium ornatum Gray, 1832 (= Chiloscyllium plagiosum) in his new genus Orectolobus. Holotype: Queensland Museum, QM I.164 (dry mount) according to Eschmeyer (1998: CD-ROM).
  • Orectolobus ornatus halei  Whitley, 1940: 81, figs 70-71. Holotype: South Australian Museum, Adelaide, SAMA 2 883 mm TL female (cast), not found in 1997 according to Eschmeyer (1998: CD-ROM), St. Vincent Gulf, South Australia.
    Other Combinations:  Crossorhinus barbatus (not Gmelin, 1788).
    FAO Names
    En - Ornate wobbegong, Fr - Requin-tapis paste, Sp - Tapicero ornamentado.
    3Alpha Code: ORO     Taxonomic Code: 1070200203
    Scientific Name with Original Description
    Crossorhinus ornatus  De Vis, 1883, Proc. Linn. Soc. New South Wales (1884), 8(2): 289, Mar. 28, 1883. Holotype: Type specimens not mentioned by De Vis but the holotype is Queensland Museum, QM I.164 (dry mount) according to Eschmeyer (1998, Cat. Fish.: CD-ROM), type locality, quot;Moreton Bay, etc.", Queensland.
    Diagnostic Features
    fieldmarks: Flattened benthic sharks with dermal lobes on sides of head, symphysial groove on chin; a strongly contrasting, variegated colour pattern of conspicuous broad dark, dorsal saddles with light spots and conspicuous black, corrugated edges, interspaced with lighter areas and conspicuous dark, light-centred spots; also, mouth in front of eyes, long, basally branched nasal barbels, nasoral grooves and circumnarial grooves, two rows of enlarged fang-like teeth in upper jaw and three in lower jaw; first dorsal-fin origin over pelvic-fin bases.

    Nasal barbels with a few branches. Five dermal lobes below and in front of eye on each side of head; dermal lobes behind spiracles unbranched or weakly branched and broad. No dermal tubercles or ridges on back.  Interspace between dorsal fins longer than inner margin of first dorsal fin, about half first dorsal-fin base. Origin of first dorsal fin over about last third of pelvic-fin base. First dorsal-fin height about equal to base length.  Colour pattern very conspicuous and highly variegated, dorsal surface of body with conspicuous broad, dark rectangular saddles with deeply corrugated, prominent black-edged margins, dotted with light spots and not ocellate in appearance; interspaces between saddles light, with numerous broad light-centred dark blotches. 
    Geographical Distribution

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    Western Pacific: ?Japan, Indonesia, New Guinea, and tropical and warm-temperate Australia (Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, south coast of Western Australia; absent from Tasmania, northern Western Australia and Northern Territory).
    Habitat and Biology
    A common inshore bottom shark of continental waters, found in bays, on alga-covered rocky areas and coral reefs on the coast and around offshore islands, in lagoons, on reef flats and faces, and in reef channels. Favours clearer water than does the spotted wobbegong.Occurs from the intertidal to at least 100 m depth.

    This is a nocturnal shark, that rests on the bottom during the day in caves, under ledges on reefs, and in trenches, and prowls on its reef habitat at night. It is observed singly and often in aggregations during the day, sometimes with several animals piled on top of one another.

    Ovoviviparous, with litter of at least 12 young.  Feeds on bony fishes, sharks, rays, cephalopods, and crustaceans.
    Maximum about 288 cm. Size at birth about 20 cm. Normally maturing at about 175 cm but a Queensland male was mature at 63 cm (suggesting the possibility of more than one species included under this taxon).
    Interest to Fisheries
    Interest to fisheries limited, fished as bycatch of commercial shark fisheries off Western Australia and taken by dropline off New South Wales.
    Flesh marketed but of little commercial value at present. Skin very tough and attractively patterned, and occasionally used for making a good leather.This species is kept in public aquaria in the United States and probably Australia.

    Conservation Status : Conservation status uncertain, but of concern in places outside Australian territorial waters where it is found in places subjected to habitat degradation and uncontrolled fisheries.
    Local Names
    Japan : Gulf wobbegong ,  Banded wobbegong ,  Karakusa-ôse .
    Whitley (1940) proposed a subspecies, Orectolobus ornatus halei, for the ornate wobbegongs from South Australia, separable from Orectolobus ornatus ornatus of more northeastern waters by differences in its colour pattern and in the dermal flaps of the head. It remains to be seen at what level these apparent differences can be recognized.

    Extra-Australian records for this species (Masuda, Araga and Yoshino, 1975; Nakaya and Shirai, 1984, for Japan) require confirmation (Last and Stevens, 1994; see also discussion above).
    Threat to humans: Said to bite waders and fishers in tidepools and occasionally biting divers. Michael (1993) suggests that large males of this species may be more aggressive during the breeding season. Sometimes they may swim off the bottom and approach a nearby diver, possibly as an agonistic response.
    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.
    Compagno, 1984
    Garman, 1913
    Grant, 1972
    Last & Stevens, 1994
    Marshall, 1965
    Masuda  et al.,  1975. 
    Michael, 1993
    Nakaya & Shirai, 1984
    Ogilby & McCulloch , 1908
    Stead, 1963
    Whitley, 1940
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