When diving in the ocean, it's not unusual to see some funky-looking animals. So one shouldn't be surprised when they see what looks to be a tasseled ocean carpet suddenly lunge at an unsuspecting fish and eat it whole... but for some reason, people always are.
Count me in as one of those people: wobbegong sharks are just plain weird.
The word wobbegong is rumored to come from the Australian Aboriginal word, meaning "shaggy beard," pointing to the growths around the mouth of these sharks. Those funny whisker-looking things do have a purpose though, as they act as sensory barbs! As for other fashion statements, they are camouflaged using bold patterns and markings that resemble carpets. They are pretty mild-mannered, and are of no threat to humans unless they are stepped on or aggravated by divers who block their only escape route. Bites are rare, but painful, as they have small, razor sharp teeth and are known to not let go.
Protip: Do not harass wildlife and watch where you step!
These sharks are known to frequent the shallow, tropical waters of the western Pacific and eastern Indian Oceans, with one species (the Japanese wobbegong, Orectolobus japonicus) residing in the waters around Japan.
These sharks are ovoviviparous. Their IUCN status varies on what species you are discussing. Their large size makes them difficult to keep them aquariums, though have successfully kept some species!
did you know these #flatsharks?
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TFUI Founder Melissa C. Marquez is author of all animal bios and "Behind the Fins" segments.
SEE MELISSA'S TEDx TALK HERE:
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