Tasselled Wobbegong [Eucrossorhinus dasypogon]

00 wobbegong

The tasselled wobbegong (Eucrossorhinus dasypogon) is a species of carpet shark in the family Orectolobidae and the only member of its genus. It inhabits shallow coral reefs off northern Australia, New Guinea, and adjacent islands. Reaching 1.8 m (5.9 ft) in length, this species has a broad and flattened body and head. Its most distinctive trait is a fringe of branching dermal flaps around its head, which extends onto its chin. The fringe, along with its complex color pattern of small blotches and reticulations, enable it tocamouflage itself against the reef environment.

During the day, the solitary tasselled wobbegong can generally be found lying inside caves or under ledges with its tail curled. Individual sharks tend to remain within a local area and have favored resting spots. While resting, it opportunistically ambushes nearby fishes and invertebrates, and also lures in prey by waving its tail to mimic the appearance of a small fish. At night, it emerges and actively forages for food. This species is aplacental viviparous, though little is known of its life history. The tasselled wobbegong has been reported to bite humans unprovoked; attacks may result from people accidentally disturbing the shark or being misperceived as prey. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed this species as Near Threatened, as outside of Australia it is threatened by fisheries and habitat degradation.

 Pictures: Raja Ampat, Papua, Indonesia by Sami Salmenkivi

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