Northern Wobbegong

The Northern Wobbegong, also known as Ward’s Wobbegong, is a little-studied carpet shark. It is native to the coral reefs in the Western Pacific Ocean.

Northern Wobbegong Scientific Classification

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Chondrichthyes
Order Orectolobiformes
Family Orectolobidae
Genus Orectolobus
Scientific name O. wardi


They might grow to 100 cm (3.3 ft), but they generally measure up to 45-63 cm (1.5-2.1 ft).

They are distinguished by their flat, stout bodies, small, oval eyes, and short, fringed mouth. The wide mouth is likely lined with long, fang-like teeth. Their head has unbranched nasal barbells and large spiracles behind their eyes. They have five dark brown, eye-shaped saddles on their head and body, interspersed with light and dark spots. Vertical stripes are observed over the tail.

It has broad, rounded pectoral and pelvic fins. The two dorsal fins are triangular and similar-sized, with the first placed near the pectoral fins and the second located above the anal fin. The anal fin originates very close to the tail and might be mistaken for the lower caudal lobe. The upper lobe of the tail is hardly elevated and is strongly lobed and notched.

Where do they live

Map Of The Northern Wobbegong Shark’s Habitat

Northern Wobbegong Habitat Map

This species occurs in the range of 9°S-26°S, 114°E-154°E in the tropical seas of Australia. It prefers the murky waters of coral reefs. It is usually discovered in caves or under ledges less than 3 m (10 ft) deep.



Its diet is unrecorded, but researchers presume it feeds on small fishes and invertebrates.


They are ovoviviparous, reaching sexual maturity at 45 cm (1.5 ft) long. The size of their litter is unknown.


This shark is known for lying still and ambushing its prey and has perfect camouflage. Its broad mouth and throat allow it to suck up prey as it approaches. It is nocturnal and hunts mostly at night.


The Northern wobbegong is a slow-moving species and likely uses its large pectoral and pelvic fins to drag itself across the sea floor. It also has adaptations like a smooth body, keen senses, and sharp teeth to help hunt food.

Human interactions

Due to their small size, these sharks find use in aquarium displays. However, they have a powerful bite and are known to attack divers that get too close.

The IUCN has assessed this species as “Least Concern” or “LC.”

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