Wobbegong or bearded carpet shark. (Raja Ampat, Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
Wobbegong or bearded carpet shark. (Raja Ampat, Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)

The wobbegong... is that a shark?

#RajaAmpat # Indonesia

  Indonesia: Raja Ampat + Bali - March 2012

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text: 


I'm not finished with Raja Ampat! Let me introduce you to a strange monster, very common in these waters: the bearded carpet shark or "wobbegong".

Wow... another monster!

There are really funny things under the water ... Nature seems to be able to invent forms of life to infinity, especially under the sea. The more I dive, the more it amazes me.

???? ????

My collection of underwater monsters - remember the abominable little creatures of Lembeh - is getting rich. Here comes the bearded carpet shark, Eucrossorhinus dasypogon of its scientific name, which anglophones call wobbegong.

Wobbegong or bearded carpet shark. (Raja Ampat, Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
Wobbegong or bearded carpet shark. (Raja Ampat, Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)

It's a pretty rare beast. I had never met her before diving before this stay of March 2012 in Raja Ampat, in Indonesian Papua.

The wobbegong, almost invisible on the background

It's a shark, then. It's not obvious at first glance. First, because most of the time, you do not even notice it. Her brown-gray spotted dress is a great camouflage on the bottom.

Then because it remains wallowed in the coral debris, huddled on the sand, or hidden in the shadows, without moving too much, like a carpet... (Hence the name!).

Don't be fooled by the two white spots on her head, it's a special camouflage illusion: they are not her eyes! Her real eyes are smaller, more in front of her head, the same color as her dress, almost invisible...

To learn more about wobbegong, I refer you to the Monaco Encyclopaedia of Nature page.

Wobbegong or bearded carpet shark. Raja Ampat, Papua, Indonesia. March 2012.
Wobbegong or bearded carpet shark. Raja Ampat, Papua, Indonesia. March 2012.
A wobbegong (bearded carpet shark) "takes off" from the reef, right in front of me. (Mioskon, Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2012)
A wobbegong (bearded carpet shark) "takes off" from the reef, right in front of me. (Mioskon, Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2012)

Besides, he's got a beard, that shark. Finally, some kind of growths around the mouth, a bit like scorpion fish. Their shape is reminiscent of coral tips. This is how he finally blends in with his surroundings.

Whenever we met one of them, during those dives at Raja Ampat, I hadn't seen anything. Without the trained eye of my underwater guides, I would have missed it.

It seems he has teeth anyway

It's the kind of shark that's easy to get close to when you're diving. It's not moving. Or very little. You can come very close, with the dome of the camera in front of its snout, it doesn't flinch.

Below is a short one-minute video of some of the wobbegongs I've come across at Raja Ampat.

Be careful not to get too close. He may play the rugs, with his rounded mouth that seems harmless, but he still has small teeth, this shark, and does not let go easily. It's best not to frighten or disturb it.

➜ To see all the articles about my dives at Raja Ampat : one click here !

  Indonesia: Raja Ampat + Bali - March 2012

48 Shares
Share28
Tweet13
Pin6
Share1