The Tasselled Wobbegong Shark: A Carpet Shark You Shouldn’t Step On

The tasseled wobbegong shark, also known as the carpet shark, is one of the most unusual-looking species of shark out there. With its flattened body and head, and branching lobes that extend from its head, this shark is capable of blending in seamlessly with the coral reef habitat in which it lives.

However, despite being first described in 1867, very little is known about this fascinating species. During the day, the tasselled wobbegong can be seen sleeping within caves or under ledges, but at night, it becomes an aggressive predator that will even attack humans if given the chance.


Image credit: Jon Hanson

Although the tasselled wobbegong is a slower swimmer than comparable species, its intricate colors and complicated appearance provide great hiding. The shark’s massive mouth helps it to consume even large prey, and it is capable of ambushing its prey during the day as well as actively hunting at night.

But this fascinating species can also be dangerous, with multiple unprovoked assaults on humans linked to wobbegongs. The tasselled wobbegong, in particular, is known to be considerably more violent than similar species, and caution should be exercised when encountering it.


While this shark is a popular ecotourism destination, its range is impacted by substantial fisheries activity and habitat deterioration caused by pollution, blast fishing, and coral loss. As such, those who encounter a tasselled wobbegong should be cautious and avoid accidentally disturbing it or mistaking a hand or foot for food.


Image credit: Leonard Low

In conclusion, the tasselled wobbegong shark is a unique and fascinating species with a lot of mystery surrounding it. However, it is also a dangerous predator that should be approached with caution. If you happen to come across a tasselled wobbegong, be sure to appreciate its beauty from a safe distance.

Written by Pasan Nanayakkara

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