Monday, December 19, 2011

Zebra Shark

The Zebra Shark
 Stegostoma  fasciatum

The zebra shark is know for its beautiful markings. There are no attacks on humans by a zebra shark on record.

The easiest way to identify a zebra shark is by its unique markings. When it is young it has striped markings (hence the name zebra shark). As they get older, the stripes break into spots. Sometimes the spots will make the outline of the stripes, such as in the picture above. The coloration in juveniles is dark brown with tan or pale yellow stripes. Adult coloration is tan to pale yellow with black to dark brown spots. The zebra shark has 5 gills on each side. It has a broad elongated upper lobe of the caudal fin, and almost no lower lobe. It has small eyes and a small mouth with barbels on both sides of its mouth.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Chondrichtyes
Subclass: Elasmobranchii
Order: Orectolobiformes
Family: Stegostomatidae
Genus: Stegostoma
Species: fasciatum

Similar Species and Other Family Members:
The zebra shark is the sole member of the Stegostomatidae family. This shark is very distinctive, but as it is sometimes called a leopard shark, it is often confused with a cold water species which is also called the leopard shark (Triakis semifasciata).

The zebra shark is oviparous (lays eggs). They will lay one to four eggs a brood. Their size at birth is around 25 centimeters (9.8 inches).
A young zebra shark
The maximum length of the zebra shark is 350 cm (11.5 feet).

The zebra shark feeds on shellfish, crustaceans, and small fishes.

Zebra shark jaws
Habitat and Distribution:
The zebra shark lives in the warm waters of the tropical western Pacific and Indian Ocean.

Life Span:
The zebra shark's life span is believed to reach up to 30 years in the wild. The longest known life span in captivity is 25 years.

Conservation Status:
The zebra shark is listed as vulnerable.

A video of a zebra shark I took at
Discovery Cove.

Note: I do not own any of the still images. 

1 comment:

  1. Hey Sharkgirl, super cool! Could you make a post on nurse sharks next?