Zebra Shark

Zebra SharkThe zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum) is a common carpet shark of inshore Indo-Pacific waters notable for its very long caudal fin, nearly as long as its body. The name zebra shark is given because as a juvenile the shark have stripes like the zebra, when it grows up it turns into leopard-like spots. It is a very sleek and skinny shark, about 11.5 feet long. The species is also mistaken for the leopard shark, a name which can refer to either of the species Stegostoma fasciatum or Triakis semifasciata which is a totally different shark from the eastern pacific.

In addition to the long tail, the zebra shark has distinctive ridges running down its body. As its names suggest, it is patterned; young sharks are dark with yellowish stripes, changing to an adult pattern of a tan color with dark spots, found all over including the fins. The snout is rather rounded, with small barbels (whiskers). Maximum known length is about 7-1/2 feet (230 cm).

The zebra shark is a slow-moving type, often just sitting on the seafloor in the vicinity of coral reefs, on sandy or rocky bottoms. Unlike most types of sharks, it does not need to move, and instead pumps water through its gills.

The zebra shark is found in the tropical Western Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean at depths of about 16 to 98 feet (5 to 30 meters).