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Ocean Voyager built by The Home Depot

Spotted wobbegong

Spotted wobbegong

(Orectolobus maculatus)

The Georgia Aquarium is excited to announce the arrival of 12 new spotted wobbegong shark pups! These tiny wobbegongs are currently staying comfortable in their own, private exhibit, visible on the Aquarium’s Behind the Scenes Tour! To learn more about these adorable pups, view the Aquarium’s press release. Native to coastal Australia, the spotted wobbegong is ovoviviparous, meaning a developing pup feeds from a yolk sac of its egg retained internally within the female and is later born fully formed. The spotted wobbegong shark has a distinctive body shape. Its head and body are flattened and the pectoral and pelvic fins are broad. A few branching skin flaps run continuously from the pectoral fins around the front of the head forming a lace-like beard below the mouth.

This unusual shark is a master of camouflage with a mottled pattern on its body that makes it virtually disappear against the sand and algae-covered ocean floor. It can even change color, over several days’ time, to adjust to environmental changes. If you decide to go looking for this aquatic creature, you may have a challenge! Be sure to look carefully under rocks and ledges, because it spends most of the day resting in hidden, sheltered areas.

Try to find these fascinating creatures in the Ocean Voyager Gallery, built by Home Depot!

Fun Facts

  • The spotted wobbegong can reach a maximum length of about 10.5 feet (3.2 m).
  • The species will bite if stepped on or when molested or provoked.
  • It favors specific caves to rest in during the day, often sharing them with small schooling fishes.
  • The spotted wobbegong is a master of escaping notice in plain sight. Resting quietly on the bottom, this species is almost undetectable.
  • The name “wobbegong” is Australian aboriginal in origin, but its exact meaning is unknown. It is speculated that it may mean “living rock”.
  • Download full fact sheet

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