Beluga Whale Logo



  The world's largest marine wildlife image database.


Back

To see photographs of the Zebra Shark (Stegostoma fasciatum) click here.

Zebra Shark (Stegostoma fasciatum)

Zebra Shark (Stegostoma fasciatum)

All images and text on this page are copyright protected: © 2010 Kelvin Aitken.
All rights reserved. Students may use this information for personal research only. Not for commercial use.

Order: Orectolobiformes
Family: Stegostomatidae
Genus: Stegostoma
Species: fasciatum
Taxonomic name: Stegostoma fasciatum

The very distinctive Zebra Shark (Stegostoma fasciatum) cannot be confused with any other animal. It has a tail second in proportional length only to the Thresher Shark. Hard ridges run down the back and flanks. The head is short and rounded with small eyes and a mouth close to the tip of the snout. The dark brown to black juveniles with yellowish white bars and spots gives this shark its common name. As it grows to adulthood the bars are replaced by a mosaic of dark brown spots on a yellowish to dark brown base colour; this coloration gives rise to its other common name, Leopard Shark.

The large dark purplish, black or brown egg cases of the Zebra Shark are 17 cm long and festooned with golden hair-like tufts that catch on the reef. The hatchlings, 20 cm long, grow to at least 2.5 m. This docile shark can be approached very closely. It is common to see remoras clinging to its belly and sides or small disc-shaped parasites around its mouth.Box:

Like all bottom-dwelling sharks, Zebra Sharks have the ability to pump water over their gills, either through their mouth or through the large spiracle behind each eye. They can be found resting in current-prone areas during the day facing the flow to make breathing a less stressful chore. Even though a diver will only see four gill openings, there are, in fact, five gills, with two sharing the one opening.

Home
Site Map
Contact Details

Home
Site Map
Contact Details