|Scientific name||Eucrossorhinus dasypogon|
|Length||4 feet (1.3 meters)|
|Life span||16.8 years (MLE)|
|Gestation||up to 24 months|
|Number of young at birth||up to 20 young|
|Size at birth||7.9 inches (20 centimeters)|
|Age of maturity||3 to 4 years|
Can you see me?
This highly unusual looking shark is superbly camouflaged among sun-dappled coral by its beautiful mosaic markings of dark narrow lines and spots set against a yellowish-brown body (2) (3). The scientific name for the tasselled wobbegong (Eucrossorhinus dasypogon) roughly translates to ‘well fringed nose with shaggy beard’, referring to the distinctive mass of branching skin flaps that run continuously around the jaws, forming a lattice-like ‘beard’.
How does a Tasselled Wobbegong eat?
This primarily nocturnal shark is a highly successful ambush predator (1) (4). Like all wobbegongs, this species relies on camouflage and quick reflexes to catch prey, but its unusual ‘beard’ also helps by appearing as succulent morsels that attract prey close to the mouth (2). Motionless and disguised, the tasselled wobbegong waits in the reef for small fish, squid, cuttlefish or crabs to come within striking rage (2) (3) (4), before moving rapidly to snatch its prey (4). Additionally, a flexible flattened body shape allows this species to squirm into enclosed spaces or maneuver in caves for the best hunting spot.
Where do they live?
Tasselled wobbegong is found in the western Pacific Ocean off eastern Indonesia (Waigeo, Aru), Papua New Guinea, and northern Australia including Barrow Island off Western Australia, northern Queensland, and the Northern Territory. It is often observed residing in the northern Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. There has been a reported occurrence in waters off Malaysia.
The tasselled wobbegong is flattened and broad with a head that is slightly wider than its length from the tip of the snout to the fifth gill openings. The mouth is located in front of the eyes and there is symphysial groove on the chin. The underside of the chin has numerous highly branched dermal lobes. The 24 to 26 pairs of dermal lobes located on the sides and front of the head are highly branched and form a more-or-less continuous fringe from the tip of the snout to the pectoral fin bases.
Tasselled wobbegong sharks are near threatened.
No effort is too small!