Serum biochemical reference intervals for wild dwarf ornate wobbegong sharks (Orectolobus ornatus)
Otway, N.M., Ellis, M.T. and Starr, R., 2011. Serum biochemical reference intervals for wild dwarf ornate wobbegong sharks (Orectolobus ornatus). Veterinary Clinical Pathology, 40(3): 361-367.
The dwarf ornate wobbegong (Orectolobus ornatus) grows to 1.20 metres in length and is one of three wobbegong sharks targeted by commercial fishers along the NSW coast. As part of a reproductive study, blood samples were obtained to document the baseline (unstressed) biochemical composition. Capture-stress can greatly affect the physiology and biochemistry of sharks and the choice of capture technique is an important consideration when minimising stress. With this in mind, the wobbegongs were caught in lobster traps with the assistance of a commercial fisher. Fifty wobbegongs were caught and their total lengths, weights and sexes recorded. Blood samples were then taken from the caudal vein, centrifuged and frozen. The concentrations of 21 plasma parameters were then analysed using standard clinical techniques.
The plasma concentrations were not affected by the length, weight and sex of wobbegongs and thus, combined samples were used to generate means and 95% confidence limits. The plasma concentrations were similar to baseline levels reported for a range of other sharks. Moreover, none of the plasma parameters that are known (from previous research) to increase in concentration under stressful situations were elevated in the plasma samples taken from the wobbegongs. Finally, given the sedentary behaviour of dwarf ornate wobbegongs, the capture technique used (lobster trap) and the large sample size, it is likely that the plasma biochemistry values documented are as close as possible to baseline levels.
These values will form the basis for ongoing research focussing on the development of wobbegong embryos and the composition of the associated uterine fluid. Furthermore, these baseline data, when combined with known changes associated with disease, will enable improvements in future health assessments, disease diagnosis, and veterinary care of sick or injured wobbegongs.