, Volume 31, Issue 2, p 471
Date: 04 Feb 2012

Sharks that eat sharks: opportunistic predation by wobbegongs

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Wobbegong sharks (family Orectolobidae) are demersal ambush predators of benthic invertebrates, cephalopods, teleost fishes, and, in larger species, occasionally other sharks (Compagno 2001; Huveneers et al. 2007). Field observations of predation events are rare on coral reefs, and trophic status is usually assigned using stomach content data from collected specimens (Huveneers et al. 2007).

At midday on 1 August 2011, while conducting an underwater visual census of fishes on the fringing reef of Great Keppel Island (Great Barrier Reef, Australia), the authors encountered a tasselled wobbegong shark (Eucrossorhinus dasypogon, ~125 cm TL) lying on the substratum with the head of a brown-banded bamboo shark (Chiloscyllium punctatum, ~100 cm TL) in its mouth (Fig. 1). During the 30-min observation period, neither shark moved position and the wobbegong did not further ingest the bamboo shark. We assume that it would have taken at least several more hours for the wobbegong to completely cons ...