Quantitative diet assessment of wobbegong sharks (genus Orectolobus) in New South Wales, Australia

Charlie Huveneers*, Nicholas M. Otway, Susan E. Gibbs, Robert G. Harcourt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)


The diets of three species of wobbegong (Orectolobus ornatus, O. maculatus, and O. halei) in New South Wales, Australia, were investigated using stomach contents from specimens caught by commercial fishers. Some 80% of wobbegongs caught by commercial setline, and 60% caught by trap or scuba diving, had empty stomachs, most likely due to regurgitation. Wobbegongs were frequently hooked in the stomach (80-90% of the catch), potentially contributing to the greater proportion of empty stomachs compared with other species of shark. The diet of all three species was primarily osteichthyans, but with some cephalopods and chondrichthyans. Interspecific differences in the diets were related to total length of the shark. Octopuses were more frequent in the diet of O. ornatus (dwarf ornate wobbegong) than other wobbegong species, possibly through the smaller adult size facilitating capture of octopuses in small holes/crevices. Orectolobus halei fed more frequently on pelagic species and chondrichthyans, possibly because of their greater mobility. Wobbegongs feed at a high trophic level, and their removal from their ecosystem may impact lower trophic levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1272-1281
Number of pages10
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007

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