Identity card

LATIN NAME : Orectolobus hutchinsi

FAMILY : Orectolobidae

PHYLUM : Chordata

CLASS : Chondrichthyes

It spends most of its time resting on the sea floor. Its flat body provides camouflage against the seabed.

The Western wobbegong is a bottom-dweller from the western and southern continental shelf of Australia, living at depths of 79 metres and no more than 106 metres from the seabed.

It feeds mainly on bony fish and cephalopods. Although fairly inactive, it does react when a prey comes close.

Juveniles measure between 22 and 26 cm at birth. Adults can grow to 1.50 m in length.

Les juvéniles mesurent entre 22 et 26 cm à la naissance. Adultes, ils peuvent atteindre 1,50 m de long.

  • Distribution :

    South and western Australian seaboard.
  • IUCN Status :

    Least concern. However, fishing for the western wobbegong is strictly controlled.

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Find out more about the Western wobbegong
Biomimetics: the shark has inspired the creation of some innovative technologies. Its skin has been used as a model for creating antibacterial, hydro/aerodynamic and antifouling clothing, its fins have helped to improve the stability of airplanes thanks to “sharklets” and the shape of its tail has served as inspiration for tidal steam generators.

Western wobbegongs are poor swimmers. For this reason, they stay close to the Australian coast. Over time, they have adapted to this habitat and modified their behaviour. Thanks to camouflaging techniques, the western wobbegong surprises its prey when it gets close, swallowing it in one go.

Despite their large mouth, western wobbegongs can be susceptible to digestive bloating when in an aquarium. Their keepers are therefore careful to give them small pieces of fish so they can digest them more easily.

They are a bycatch of commercial fishing aimed at sharks.

Western wobbegongs are ovoviviparous, meaning their eggs hatch inside the female’s body. The female reproduces every 2-3 years and can give birth to between 18 and 29 young following a gestation period of 9 to 11 months.




Crédits photo du bandeau : © NAUSICAA
Crédits photo de la galerie : © NAUSICAA

Activities AT NAUSICAA


Every day, there are events focused on Nausicaa’s main species. With training and feeding sessions and talks on life in Europe’s largest aquarium, your visit will be a rich and entertaining experience!
Learn about the life of fishes, hear some surprising stories and enjoy the antics of some amazing animals.

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