dcsimg

Behavior

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Communication in these animals has not been studied extensively. However, it is likely that some visual cues are important, especially during mating, and that tactile and accoustic cues are used.

Communication Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic

Other Communication Modes: vibrations

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; vibrations ; chemical

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Reum, J. 2005. "Stegostoma fasciatum" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Stegostoma_fasciatum.html
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Pamela Rasmussen, Michigan State University
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Jessica Reum, Michigan State University
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Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Conservation Status

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The IUCN Red List considers S. fasciatum to be a vulnerable species. The population trend is on a decline, mostly because of human hunters.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: vulnerable

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Reum, J. 2005. "Stegostoma fasciatum" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Stegostoma_fasciatum.html
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Pamela Rasmussen, Michigan State University
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Jessica Reum, Michigan State University
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Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Life Cycle

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Newly fertilized eggs are laid on rocks at the bottom of reefs. From the time they hatch they are independent of their parents. Individuals less than 70 cm in length are rarely seen, indicating that they spend the first months of their lives at depths that recreational divers do not reach. The young sharks are darker in base color and have light stripes and spots than do adult sharks. As they age, the young lose their stripes and gain spots as their base color lightens.

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Reum, J. 2005. "Stegostoma fasciatum" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Stegostoma_fasciatum.html
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Pamela Rasmussen, Michigan State University
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Jessica Reum, Michigan State University
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Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Benefits

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Zebra sharks are not known to have a negative effect on human economies.

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Reum, J. 2005. "Stegostoma fasciatum" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Stegostoma_fasciatum.html
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Pamela Rasmussen, Michigan State University
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Jessica Reum, Michigan State University
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Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Benefits

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Zebra sharks are seen in fish markets all around Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and India. The liver of this species is used to make vitamins, and its fins are used in many soups.

Positive Impacts: food ; source of medicine or drug

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Reum, J. 2005. "Stegostoma fasciatum" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Stegostoma_fasciatum.html
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Pamela Rasmussen, Michigan State University
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Jessica Reum, Michigan State University
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Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Associations

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These sharks are predators on a number of invertebrate and vertebrate species. Because of this, they likely affect the popultion dynamics of those species that serve as their prey.

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Reum, J. 2005. "Stegostoma fasciatum" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Stegostoma_fasciatum.html
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Pamela Rasmussen, Michigan State University
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Jessica Reum, Michigan State University
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Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Trophic Strategy

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Natural foods include gastropod and bivalve mollusks with smaller amounts of crabs, shrimp, and small fish.

Animal Foods: fish; mollusks; aquatic or marine worms; aquatic crustaceans; other marine invertebrates

Primary Diet: carnivore (Eats non-insect arthropods, Molluscivore )

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Reum, J. 2005. "Stegostoma fasciatum" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Stegostoma_fasciatum.html
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Pamela Rasmussen, Michigan State University
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Jessica Reum, Michigan State University
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Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Distribution

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Zebra sharks (Stegostoma fasciatum) live in the central, western and Indian Pacific oceans. This species is abundant in Australian coastal waters. It lives mainly over continental and insular shelves and is very common around coral reefs and sandy bottoms. It generally resides around 62 m below the surface of the ocean, but it has occasionally been found in fresh water also.

Biogeographic Regions: indian ocean (Native ); pacific ocean (Native )

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Reum, J. 2005. "Stegostoma fasciatum" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Stegostoma_fasciatum.html
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Pamela Rasmussen, Michigan State University
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Jessica Reum, Michigan State University
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Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Habitat

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Stegostoma fasciatum is commonly found around warm water reefs and sandy areas. It is common along the Australian coast. It usually resides at a depth of 62 m.

Average depth: 62 below sea level m.

Habitat Regions: saltwater or marine ; freshwater

Aquatic Biomes: reef ; coastal

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Reum, J. 2005. "Stegostoma fasciatum" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Stegostoma_fasciatum.html
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Pamela Rasmussen, Michigan State University
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Jessica Reum, Michigan State University
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Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Life Expectancy

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When S. fasciatum is kept in small tanks, the expected life span is about 9 years. When held captive in large aquariums, the average lifespan of S. fasciatum is about 25 years. In the wild, it is suspected that the lifespan is about the same, although it could be closer to 30 years.

Range lifespan
Status: wild:
33 (high) years.

Average lifespan
Status: wild:
25 years.

Range lifespan
Status: captivity:
5 to 27 years.

Average lifespan
Status: captivity:
25 years.

Average lifespan
Status: wild:
25 years.

Average lifespan
Status: captivity:
25 years.

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Reum, J. 2005. "Stegostoma fasciatum" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Stegostoma_fasciatum.html
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Pamela Rasmussen, Michigan State University
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Jessica Reum, Michigan State University
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Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Morphology

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Zebra sharks range from about 2.5 m to 3.0 m in length. The largest zebra shark captured wasabout 3.5 m in length. The body is cylindrical with lateral ridges and a tail as long as the body. The head is broad with large eyes and a transverse mouth just below them. Five gill slits are present on the side of the head. The anterior dorsal fin is larger than the posterior and the gray body is covered in dark brown spots.

Range length: 2.0 to 3.5 m.

Average length: 2.5-3.0 m.

Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: male larger

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Reum, J. 2005. "Stegostoma fasciatum" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Stegostoma_fasciatum.html
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Pamela Rasmussen, Michigan State University
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Jessica Reum, Michigan State University
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Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Associations

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Predators of zebra sharks are other large sharks and humans.

Known Predators:

  • Humans
  • other large sharks

Anti-predator Adaptations: cryptic

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Reum, J. 2005. "Stegostoma fasciatum" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Stegostoma_fasciatum.html
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Pamela Rasmussen, Michigan State University
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Jessica Reum, Michigan State University
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Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Reproduction

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Details on the mating system of this species are not available.

Stegostoma fasciatum is oviparous. Females lay eggs, and are suspected to lay more than one egg at a time. The eggs are large, about 17 cm in diameter and are fertilized externally. The eggs hatch at about 20 to 36 cm.

Breeding in captivity has been achieved, but the eggs are hard to incubate. At the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska, 3 eggs hatched out of a group of 46 laid. Of the 46, 7 were infertile and 31 did not develop entirely. Only eight developed to a full embryo. The incubation of these eggs took about 6.5 months, which is estimated to be the same as in the wild.

Breeding interval: The breeding frequency of this species is not known.

Breeding season: Breeding in this species occurs year- round.

Range number of offspring: 2 to 7.

Average number of offspring: 4 .

Average time to independence: 0 minutes.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): around 1.7 meters months.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 1.5 meters to 1.8 meters months.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (External ); oviparous

Females produce very large eggs, which can be considered a form of parental investment. In spite of this early investment, however, there is no pronounced parental care in either eggs or newly hatched offspring.

Parental Investment: pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female)

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Reum, J. 2005. "Stegostoma fasciatum" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Stegostoma_fasciatum.html
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Pamela Rasmussen, Michigan State University
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Jessica Reum, Michigan State University
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Nancy Shefferly, Animal Diversity Web
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Biology

provided by Arkive
These sharks are mostly solitary (6) but can occasionally be found in aggregations of 20 to 50 individuals (1). Believed to be a nocturnal hunter, they spend most of the day lazily swimming and resting on the bottom (5), becoming active at night when they hunt for sleeping fish, molluscs and crustaceans (3). A slow but powerful swimmer, leopard sharks have unusually flexible bodies that are used to squirm into tiny crevices in search of food (5) (6). Female leopard sharks lay large, purplish-black eggs, which they anchor to the floor with many long hair-like fibres (7). It is likely that more than one egg is laid at a time. Once hatched, the young are independent of their mother (6). Males reach sexual maturity once they reach a size of between 1.5 and 1.8 metres and females at around 1.7 metres (8). The life-span of leopard sharks in the wild is not exactly known, but it is thought that they may live for an average of 25 years (6).
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Conservation

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There are currently no conservation measures in place for this species (1).
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Description

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The leopard shark is an immediately recognisable, stunningly attractive species, which derives its common name from its distinctive markings of dark brown leopard-like spots set against a yellow-brown skin tone (2). Juveniles, which are less than 70 centimetres in length, can be distinguished from adults by their markedly different colouration. This consists of narrow white stripes and blotches contrasted against a dark brown base colour, from which its alternative common name of 'zebra shark' arises (3) (4). Adults also have prominent longitudinal skin ridges that are lacking in young (5). This shark has a cylindrical body with large pectoral fins, two close-set spineless dorsal fins and a very long caudal fin, almost as long as the rest of the body (2). There are five gill slits on the sides of its broad head (6). Harmless to man, this beautiful shark is approachable, especially during the day as it rests on the seabed (3).
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Habitat

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Leopard sharks inhabit shallow inshore and offshore waters near the bottom, at depths down to around 62 metres, often found close to coral reefs (1). Recorded to have entered freshwater in the Philippines but this needs to be confirmed (5).
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Range

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The leopard shark is found over continental and insular shelves in warm temperate to tropical areas of the Indian Ocean and west Pacific Ocean. The leopard shark is more abundant in Australian waters than in other parts of its range, as it is not exploited to the same extent as it is elsewhere (2) (6).
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Status

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Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List. In Australia, it is classified as Least Concern (LC) (1).
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Threats

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There is no direct evidence of a decline in leopard shark numbers but Indo-West Pacific surveys of local fish markets suggest it is much less common than it used to be. Incidental and deliberate capture by fishing companies is the principal threat to the leopard shark across its range outside Australia; it can be found in fish markets all around Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Taiwan and India (1). The liver is used to make vitamins and its fins are dried for the Oriental shark-fin trade to be used in soups (6) (8). Threats in Australia are minimal. Evidence from the Gulf of Thailand show it was historically more abundant and may have been affected by the use of explosives and poisons on reefs (1).
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Diagnostic Description

provided by FAO species catalogs
fieldmarks: Unique large sharks that combine a broad, low caudal fin about as long as the rest of the shark with nasoral grooves, barbels, a small transverse mouth in front of the lateral eyes, two spineless dorsal fins and an anal fin, the first dorsal fin much larger than the second and with its origin far forwards on back, prominent ridges on the sides of the body but no strong lateral keels on the caudal peduncle. Colour: colour pattern banded or spotted. Young sharks are dark brown above, yellowish below, with vertical yellow stripes and spots breaking the dorsal coloration into dark saddles; in specimens between 50 and 90 cm length the saddles break up into small brown spots on a yellow background, these becoming less linear and more uniformly distributed with further increase in size. There is considerable variation in the colour pattern between individuals of like size. An albino specimen was once collected. Head broad, conical and somewhat flattened, without lateral flaps of skin. Snout very broadly rounded or truncated. Eyes laterally situated on head and without strong subocular ridges below them. Eyes without movable upper eyelids or subocular pockets and ridges. Spiracles large and subequal to eyes, without prominent raised external rims; spiracles behind but not below eyes.

Gill slits small, fifth gill slit overlapping fourth; internal gill slits without filter screens.

Nostrils with short pointed barbels but without circumnarial folds and grooves around incurrent apertures. Nasoral grooves long and strongly developed. Mouth moderately large, nearly transverse and subterminal on head. Lower lip trilobate and with lateral orolabial grooves connecting edge of lip with medial ends of lower labial furrows, no longitudinal symphysial groove on chin. Lower labial furrows ending medially far lateral to symphysis, not connected medially by a mental groove or groove and flap.

Teeth not strongly differentiated in upper and lower jaws, with symphysial teeth not enlarged nor fang-like. Tooth row count 28 to 33/22 to 32. Teeth with a strong medial cusp, a pair of short lateral cusplets, and weak labial root lobes. Teeth orthodont with a central pulp cavity and no plug of osteodentine.

Body cylindrical, with strong ridges on sides. Precaudal tail shorter than body. Caudal peduncle without lateral keels or precaudal pits.

Pectoral fins large, broad and rounded. Pectoral fins semiplesodic and with fin radials partly expanded into fin web.

Pectoral propterygium small and separate from mesopterygium and metapterygium; pectoral-fin radial segments three to nine, and with longest distal segments up to 1.3 times the length of longest proximal segments.

Pelvic fins smaller than first dorsal fin but larger than second dorsal fin and as large or larger than anal fin, much smaller than pectorals and with anterior margins 0.4 to 0.6 times the pectoral-fin anterior margins.

Claspers poorly known but probably without mesospurs, claws or dactyls.

Dorsal fins with second dorsal much smaller than first. First dorsal-fin origin expanded well ahead of pelvic-fin origins and with insertion about over pelvic-fin bases. Anal fin larger than second dorsal fin, with broad base, angular apex, origin about opposite second dorsal-fin midbase or insertion, and insertion separated by a space or narrow notch much less than base length from lower caudal-fin origin. Caudal fin greatly elongated horizontally and not crescentic, weakly heterocercal with its upper lobe at a low angle above the body axis; dorsal caudal-fin margin about half as long as the entire shark. Caudal fin with a strong terminal lobe and subterminal notch but without a ventral lobe, preventral and postventral margins not differentiated and forming a continuous curve.

Vertebral centra with well-developed radii. Total vertebral count 207 to 243, monospondylous precaudal count 43 to 49, diplospondylous precaudal count 38 to 50, diplospondylous caudal count 120 to 154, and precaudal count 81 to 101. Cranium broad and expanded laterally. Medial rostral cartilage moderately long and not reduced to a low nubbin. Nasal capsules elevated and not greatly depressed or fenestrated, internarial septum moderately high and slightly compressed. Orbits with small foramina for preorbital canals, medial walls not fenestrated around the optic nerve foramina. Supraorbital crests present on cranium and laterally expanded and pedicellate. Suborbital shelves moderately broad and not greatly reduced. Cranial roof solid, without a continuous fenestra from the anterior fontanelle to the parietal fossa. Basal plate of cranium with a pair of stapedial foramina widely separated from medial carotid foramina. Adductor mandibulae muscles of jaws with two divisions.

Preorbitalis muscles extending onto posterodorsal surface of cranium. No anterodorsal palpebral depressor, rostromandibular, rostronuchal or ethmonuchal muscles. Valvular intestine of ring type with 18 turns.

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Sharks of the world An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Volume 2 Bullhead, mackerel and carpet sharks (Heterodontiformes, Lamniformes and Orectolobiformes). Leonard J.V. Compagno 2001.  FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 1, Vol. 2. Rome, FAO. 2001. p.269.
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Distribution

provided by FAO species catalogs
Indo-West Pacific: From the east coast of South Africa (Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal Provinces), Mozambique, and Madagascar north to Tanzania and east to the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, the Maldives, the Persian Gulf, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Malaysia (including Sarawak, Borneo), Singapore, Indonesia (Java, Macassar Strait, Sulawesi, Dobo and Aru Islands), Thailand, Viet Nam, Kampuchea, Philippines, China, Taiwan (Province of China), Japan, New Guinea, northern Australia (Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales), New Caledonia, and Palau.
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Sharks of the world An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Volume 2 Bullhead, mackerel and carpet sharks (Heterodontiformes, Lamniformes and Orectolobiformes). Leonard J.V. Compagno 2001.  FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 1, Vol. 2. Rome, FAO. 2001. p.269.
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Size

provided by FAO species catalogs
Maximum possibly 354 cm, but most adults apparently below 2.5 m. Young hatching at a size between 20 and 36 cm; males maturing between 147 and 183 cm; females maturing between 169 and 171 cm and reaching at least 233 cm.
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Sharks of the world An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Volume 2 Bullhead, mackerel and carpet sharks (Heterodontiformes, Lamniformes and Orectolobiformes). Leonard J.V. Compagno 2001.  FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 1, Vol. 2. Rome, FAO. 2001. p.269.
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Brief Summary

provided by FAO species catalogs
This is an inshore tropical shark of the continental and insular shelves of the Indo-West Pacific, that is very common on coral reefs but also occurs offshore on soft grounds.It ranges from the intertidal down to 62 m. It has been reported from fresh water in Philippines, but this needs to be confirmed. Adults and large spotted juveniles prefer lagoons, channels and faces of coral reefs, reef detritus and sandy places as rest areas, but the striped young are rarely seen and may prefer water below 50 m. The biology of the zebra shark is sketchily known despite being relatively common and readily observed alive by divers on coral reefs and as catches in Indo-West Pacific fish markets. The behaviour and social organization of this shark is little known, but it has been photographed resting on sandy areas within reefs, sometimes propped up on its pectoral fins and facing a current with open mouth. According to Michael (1993), it is usually solitary, but is rarely seen in aggregations. It apparently is rather sluggish, at least during the daytime, and is more active at night as are nurse sharks (Ginglymostomatidae) or when motivated by the presence of food. Because of its rather slender, flexible body and caudal fin it is able to squirm into narrow cracks, crevices and channels while searching for food. In captivity, it spends most of its time resting on the bottom (at least during the day), but becomes active when food is introduced into its tank. An immature male zebra shark about 1.3 m long was observed by the writer on two separate occasions in a large tank at the Waikiki Aquarium (February 2000). It sat on the bottom of its tank in the evening on one day but became highly active during feeding time in the early afternoon on a subsequent day. It swam about as fast as the 1.1 to 1.2 m long blacktip reef sharks (Carcharhinus melanopterus) that it was quartered with (speed estimated at 1.0 to 1.5 m per second), and during a half-hour's observation stayed near the top of the tank and swam continuously. It swam strongly, with prominent anguilliform undulations of its body and tail, and showed much manoeuvring and considerable agility while swimming. The shark broke the surface with its caudal fin on a few occasions, churning the water, but it was not obvious if it was using its tail in any special way. The caudal fin was held at a low but noticeable angle to the body axis. The elongated caudal fin seems less likely to be used as a weapon to herd and stun small fishes than the caudal fins of threshers (Alopiidae), but could be used during social activities, including courtship, as well as for facilitating entry into tight spaces. Oviparous, laying eggs in large (17 cm long, 8 cm wide and about 5 cm thick), dark brown or purplish black cases with fine lateral tufts of hair-like fibres, which serve to anchor the cases to the substrate. Probably lays more than one or two eggs at once, as four fully formed, encased eggs were found in one oviduct of an adult female.

Feeds primarily on molluscs (gastropods and bivalves) but also crustaceans (crabs and shrimp), small bony fishes, and possibly sea snakes.

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Sharks of the world An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Volume 2 Bullhead, mackerel and carpet sharks (Heterodontiformes, Lamniformes and Orectolobiformes). Leonard J.V. Compagno 2001.  FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 1, Vol. 2. Rome, FAO. 2001. p.269.
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Benefits

provided by FAO species catalogs
Regularly taken in inshore fisheries in Pakistan, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan (Province of China), and elsewhere where it occurs. It is caught in bottom trawls, in floating and fixed bottom gillnets, and with longlines and other line gear. It rarely takes baited hooks. The meat is utilized fresh and dried-salted for human consumption; livers processed for vitamins; fins dried and processed for the oriental sharkfin trade; and offal utilized for fishmeal. This is a hardy shark, readily kept in captivity and is an attractive and lively aquarium exhibit. It is currently kept in several public aquaria in Australia, Japan, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, and the United States. Conservation Status : The conservation status of the zebra shark needs assessment, as it may have declined in areas such as the Gulf of Thailand where it was formerly more common. Also, it may have been adversely affected by the widespread use of explosives and poisons to fish out reefs in the eastern Indian Ocean and western Pacific as with other reef sharks. It is not known how this shark figures in and is influenced by the international aquarium trade. Although the adults and subadults can only thrive in large public aquaria, as with nurse and tawny sharks, the very attractive newly-hatched young are sufficiently small to live in the tanks of private collectors.
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Sharks of the world An annotated and illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Volume 2 Bullhead, mackerel and carpet sharks (Heterodontiformes, Lamniformes and Orectolobiformes). Leonard J.V. Compagno 2001.  FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 1, Vol. 2. Rome, FAO. 2001. p.269.
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Diagnostic Description

provided by Fishbase
Head with 5 small gill slits, the last three behind pectoral fin origin; nostril close to front of snout, with short barbels and nasoral grooves connecting them with the mouth (Ref. 4832).Very long caudal fin, almost as long as the rest of the body, with a deep subterminal notch but with the lower lobe hardly developed (Ref.13575, 6871). Yellow-brown with dark brown spots (Ref. 391), young black with yellow bars (Ref. 5578). Adults with longitudinal skin ridges which are lacking in young (Ref. 391). Juveniles smaller than about 70 cm, markedly different; dark with white bars and spots; pale ventrally (Ref. 6781). Pectoral fins large and broadly rounded (Ref. 6871).
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Recorder
Cristina V. Garilao
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Life Cycle

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Oviparous (Ref. 247). Egg cases are large, dark brown or purplish black, with longitudinal striations (Ref. 6871). Size at birth 20-26 cm TL (Ref. 9993).
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Migration

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Amphidromous. Refers to fishes that regularly migrate between freshwater and the sea (in both directions), but not for the purpose of breeding, as in anadromous and catadromous species. Sub-division of diadromous. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.Characteristic elements in amphidromy are: reproduction in fresh water, passage to sea by newly hatched larvae, a period of feeding and growing at sea usually a few months long, return to fresh water of well-grown juveniles, a further period of feeding and growing in fresh water, followed by reproduction there (Ref. 82692).
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Morphology

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Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 0; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 0
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Trophic Strategy

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Inhabits rocky and coral reefs (Ref. 9137). A tropical inshore shark found on sand, rubble, or coral bottoms of the continental and insular shelves (Ref. 247). Recorded to have entered freshwater (Ref. 4735). Rather sluggish at least during the day (Ref. 247). Probably nocturnal, feeds mainly on mollusks, but also small bony fishes (Ref. 9993). Slow-swimming and able to squirm into narrow cracks, crevices and channel in reefs while searching for food (Ref. 247).
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Biology

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A tropical inshore shark found on sand, rubble, or coral bottoms of the continental and insular shelves (Ref. 247). Recorded to have entered freshwater (Ref. 4735). Rather sluggish at least during the day (Ref. 247). Probably nocturnal, feeds mainly on mollusks, but also small bony fishes (Ref. 9993). Also known to eat crustaceans (crabs and shrimps) and sea snakes (Ref. 43278). Oviparous (Ref. 43278, 50449). Slow-swimming and able to squirm into narrow cracks, crevices and channel in reefs while searching for food (Ref. 247). Readily kept in captivity (Ref. 247). May bite when provoked (Ref. 247). Utilized fresh and dried-salted for human consumption and also for fishmeal; livers processed for vitamins; fins dried for the oriental sharkfin trade; offal utilized for fishmeal (Ref. 247). Possibly reaching 354 cm TL (Ref. 9993, 47613). Caught in drift net intended for sharks (Ref. 47736). Reported from freshwater in the Philippines but needs to be confirmed (Ref. 43278).
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Importance

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fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes; price category: unknown; price reliability:
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分布

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分布於印度-西太平洋區,西起紅海、東非洲,西至新加勒多尼亞,北至日本南部,南至澳洲之新南威爾斯。臺灣分布於東北部及西南部海域。
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臺灣魚類資料庫
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利用

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主要以一支釣、沈底刺網及延繩釣捕獲,經濟價值高。肉質佳,可加工成各種肉製品;鰭可做魚翅;皮厚可加工成皮革;肝可加工製成維他命及油;剩餘物製成魚粉。可馴養於大型水族箱內。
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描述

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體幹圓柱狀,尾部側扁;體側具明顯之隆脊。頭圓錐形,稍縱扁;頭側不具皮褶。吻端寬圓。眼很小,側位,無瞬膜。鼻孔近口部,鼻孔緣具短而尖凸之鬚;具口鼻溝。噴水孔中小,同大於眼徑或略小。鰓裂小,第四及第五鰓裂幾重疊,內鰓不具濾器。口裂中大,腹位,橫向。齒小,三尖頭型,即具中央齒尖,側邊各具1小齒尖。尾柄無側隆脊或凹窪。第一背鰭大於第二背鰭,起點在腹鰭起點前方;第二背鰭位於第一背鰭後方不遠;胸鰭寬大而圓;尾鰭很長,幾佔全長之一半,上葉不發達,僅見於尾端;尾鰭下葉前部不突出,中部低平,中部與後部間具缺刻,後部為小三角形,微突出,與尾鰭上葉間有一缺刻。幼體深褐色,具許多黃色細狹橫紋和斑紋;成魚黃褐色,具許多深色斑點,各鰭亦散佈許多深色斑點,腹面淡色。
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棲地

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主要棲息於大陸棚與島嶼棚的沿、近海中大型鯊魚,舉凡砂泥底、石礫底、礁石區、珊瑚礁區等水域皆可見其蹤跡。夜行性,白天活動力遲緩。細長之體軀,使其可輕易穿梭於礁石岩洞、細縫間以尋找獵物。主要以軟體動物為食,亦捕食小魚。若激怒它,會展開攻擊行為,有潛在性之危險。
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Zebra shark

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The zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum) is a species of carpet shark and the sole member of the family Stegostomatidae. It is found throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific, frequenting coral reefs and sandy flats to a depth of 62 m (203 ft). Adult zebra sharks are distinctive in appearance, with five longitudinal ridges on a cylindrical body, a low caudal fin comprising nearly half the total length, and usually a pattern of dark spots on a pale background. Young zebra sharks under 50–90 cm (20–35 in) long have a completely different pattern, consisting of light vertical stripes on a brown background, and lack the ridges. This species attains a length of 2.5 m (8.2 ft).

Zebra sharks are nocturnal and spend most of the day resting motionless on the sea floor. At night, they actively hunt for molluscs, crustaceans, small bony fishes, and possibly sea snakes inside holes and crevices in the reef. Though solitary for most of the year, they form large seasonal aggregations. The zebra shark is oviparous: females produce several dozen large egg capsules, which they anchor to underwater structures via adhesive tendrils. Innocuous to humans and hardy in captivity, zebra sharks are popular subjects of ecotourism dives and public aquaria. The World Conservation Union has assessed this species as Endangered worldwide, as it is taken by commercial fisheries across most of its range (except off Australia) for meat, fins, and liver oil. There is evidence that its numbers are dwindling.

Taxonomy

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Early taxonomists thought that juvenile zebra sharks were a different species because of their different appearance from adults.

The zebra shark was first described as Squalus varius by Seba in 1758 (Seba died years earlier; the publication was posthumous). No type specimen was designated, though Seba included a comprehensive description in Latin and an accurate illustration of a juvenile. Müller and Henle placed this species in the genus Stegostoma in 1837, using the specific epithet fasciatus (or the neuter form fasciatum, as Stegostoma is neuter while Squalus is masculine) from an 1801 work by Bloch and Schneider. In 1984, Compagno rejected the name "varius/m" in favor of "fasciatus/m" for the zebra shark, because Seba did not consistently use binomial nomenclature in his species descriptions (though Squalus varius is one that can be construed as a binomial name). In Compagno's view, the first proper usage of "varius/m" was by Garman in 1913, making it a junior synonym.[2][3] Both S. fasciatum and S. varium are currently in usage for this species;[2] until the early 1990s most authorities used the latter name, but since then most have followed Compagno and used the former name.[4] A taxonomic review in 2019 instead argued that S. tigrinum is its valid name. This name was omitted in Compagno's review in 1984, possibly due to confusion over its year of description (in a publication in 1941, Fowler mistakenly listed it as being described in 1795). Squalus tigrinus was described by Forster in 1781, two years before Squalus fasciatus was described by Hermann. Consequently, the former and older is the valid name (as Stegostoma tigrinum), while the latter and younger is its junior synonym. As the name proposed by Forster in 1781 has been used in tens of publications since 1899, it is not a nomen oblitum.[4]

The genus name is derived from the Greek stego meaning "covered", and stoma meaning "mouth".[5] The specific epithet fasciatum means "banded", referring to the striped pattern of the juvenile.[6] The juvenile coloration is also the origin of the common name "zebra shark". The name "leopard shark" is sometimes applied to the spotted adult, but that name usually refers to the houndshark Triakis semifasciata, and is also sometimes used for the tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier).[2] Due to their different color patterns and body proportions, both juveniles and subadults have historically been described as separate species (Squalus tigrinus and S. longicaudatus respectively).[3]

Phylogeny

There is robust morphological support for the placement of the zebra shark, the whale shark (Rhincodon typus), and the nurse sharks (Ginglymostoma cirratum, Nebrius ferrugineus, and Pseudoginglymostoma brevicaudatum) in a single clade. However, the interrelationships between these taxa are disputed by various authors.[7] Dingerkus (1986) suggested that the whale shark is the closest relative of the zebra shark, and proposed a single family encompassing all five species in the clade.[8] Compagno (1988) suggested affinity between this species and either Pseudoginglymostoma or a clade containing Rhincodon, Ginglymostoma, and Nebrius.[3] Goto (2001) placed the zebra shark as the sister group to a clade containing Rhincodon and Ginglymostoma.[7]

Description

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Adult zebra sharks have longitudinal ridges on the body, a spotted pattern, and small eyes with larger spiracles.
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Close-up of zebra shark

The zebra shark has a cylindrical body with a large, slightly flattened head and a short, blunt snout. The eyes are small and placed on the sides of the head; the spiracles are located behind them and are as large or larger. The last 3 of the 5 short gill slits are situated over the pectoral fin bases, and the fourth and fifth slits are much closer together than the others. Each nostril has a short barbel and a groove running from it to the mouth.[9] The mouth is nearly straight, with three lobes on the lower lip and furrows at the corners. There are 28–33 tooth rows in the upper jaw and 22–32 tooth rows in the lower jaw; each tooth has a large central cusp flanked by two smaller ones.[3]

There are five distinctive ridges running along the body in adults, one along the dorsal midline and two on the sides. The dorsal midline ridge merges into the first dorsal fin, placed about halfway along the body and twice the size of the second dorsal fin. The pectoral fins are large and broad; the pelvic and anal fins are much smaller but larger than the second dorsal fin. The caudal fin is almost as long as the rest of the body, with a barely developed lower lobe and a strong ventral notch near the tip of the upper lobe. The zebra shark attains a length of 2.5 m (8.2 ft), with an unsubstantiated record of 3.5 m (11 ft).[3] Males and females are not dimorphic in size.[10]

The color pattern in young sharks is dark brown above and light yellow below, with vertical yellow stripes and spots. As the shark grows to 50–90 cm (20–35 in) long, the dark areas begin to break up, changing the general pattern from light-on-dark stripes to dark-on-light spots.[3] There is substantial variation in pattern amongst adults, which can be used to identify particular individuals.[10] A rare morph, informally called the sandy zebra shark, is overall sandy–brown in color with inconspicuous dark brown freckles on its upperside, lacking the distinct dark-spotted and banded pattern typical of the species. The appearance of juveniles of this morph is unknown, but subadults that are transitioning into adult sandy zebra sharks have a brown-netted pattern. Faint remnants of this pattern can often be seen in adult sandy zebra sharks. This morph, which is genetically inseparable from the normal morph, is only known from the vicinity of Malindi in Kenya, although seemingly similar individuals have been reported from Japan and northwestern Australia.[4]

In 1964, a partially albino zebra shark was discovered in the Indian Ocean. It was overall white and completely lacked spots, but its eyes were blackish-brown as typical of the species and unlike full albinos. The shark, a 1.9 m (6.2 ft) long mature female, was unusual in that albino animals rarely survive long in the wild due to their lack of crypsis.[2]

Distribution and habitat

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Zebra sharks are often seen resting on sand near coral.

The zebra shark occurs in the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific region, from South Africa to the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf (including Madagascar and the Maldives), to India and Southeast Asia (including Indonesia, the Philippines, and Palau), northward to Taiwan and Japan, eastward to New Caledonia and Tonga, and southward to northern Australia.[3][5]

Bottom-dwelling in nature, the zebra shark is found from the intertidal zone to a depth of 62 m (203 ft) over the continental and insular shelves. Adults and large juveniles frequent coral reefs, rubble, and sandy areas.[3] There are unsubstantiated reports of this species from fresh water in the Philippines.[5] Zebra sharks sometimes cross oceanic waters to reach isolated seamounts.[10] Movements of up to 140 km (87 mi) have been recorded for individual sharks.[10] However, genetic data indicates that there is little exchange between populations of zebra sharks, even if their ranges are contiguous.[11]

Biology and ecology

During the day, zebra sharks are sluggish and usually found resting on the sea bottom, sometimes using their pectoral fins to prop up the front part of their bodies and facing into the current with their mouths open to facilitate respiration. Reef channels are favored resting spots, since the tightened space yields faster, more oxygenated water.[12] They become more active at night or when food becomes available. Zebra sharks are strong and agile swimmers, propelling themselves with pronounced anguilliform (eel-like) undulations of the body and tail.[3] In a steady current, they have been seen hovering in place with sinuous waves of their tails.[12]

The zebra shark feeds primarily on shelled molluscs, though it also takes crustaceans, small bony fishes, and possibly sea snakes. The slender, flexible body of this shark allows it to wriggle into narrow holes and crevices in search of food, while its small mouth and thickly muscled buccal cavity allow it to create a powerful suction force with which to extract prey.[3] This species may be preyed upon by larger fishes (notably other larger sharks) and marine mammals. Known parasites of the zebra shark include four species of tapeworms in the genus Pedibothrium.[2]

Social life

Zebra sharks are usually solitary, though aggregations of 20–50 individuals have been recorded.[13] Off southeast Queensland, aggregations of several hundred zebra sharks form every summer in shallow water. These aggregations consist entirely of large adults, with females outnumbering males by almost three to one. The purpose of these aggregations is yet unclear; no definite mating behavior has been observed between the sharks.[10] There is an observation of an adult male zebra shark biting the pectoral fin of another adult male and pushing him against the sea floor; the second male was turned on his back, and remained motionless for several minutes. This behavior resembles pre-copulatory behaviors between male and female sharks, and in both cases the biting and holding of the pectoral fin has been speculated to relate to one shark asserting dominance over the other.[14]

Life history

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Several egg cases of the zebra shark

The courtship behavior of the zebra shark consists of the male following the female and biting vigorously at her pectoral fins and tail, with periods in which he holds onto her pectoral fin and both sharks lie still on the bottom. On occasion this leads to mating, in which the male curls his body around the female and inserts one of his claspers into her cloaca. Copulation lasts for two to five minutes.[15] The zebra shark is oviparous, with females laying large egg capsules measuring 17 cm (6.7 in) long, 8 cm (3.1 in) wide, and 5 cm (2.0 in) thick. The egg case is dark brown to purple in color, and has hair-like fibers along the sides that secure it to the substrate.[3] The adhesive fibers emerge first from the female's vent; the female circles vertical structures such as reef outcroppings to entangle the fibers, so as to anchor the eggs. Females have been documented laying up to 46 eggs over a 112-day period.[15] Eggs are deposited in batches of around four.[3] Reproductive seasonality in the wild is unknown.[1]

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A juvenile zebra shark with a color pattern intermediate between that of young and adults

In captivity, the eggs hatch after four to six months, depending on temperature.[15] The hatchlings measure 20–36 cm (7.9–14.2 in) long and have proportionately longer tails than adults.[3] The habitat preferences of juveniles are unclear; one report places them at depths greater than 50 m (160 ft), while another report from India suggests they inhabit shallower water than adults. The stripes of the juveniles may have an anti-predator function, making each individual in a group harder to target.[12] Males attain sexual maturity at 1.5–1.8 m (4.9–5.9 ft) long, and females at 1.7 m (5.6 ft) long.[3] Their lifespan has been estimated to be 25–30 years in the wild.[5] There have been two reports of female zebra sharks producing young asexually.[16][17][18] An additional study has observed parthenogenesis in females regardless of sexual history.[19]

Human interactions

Docile and slow-moving, zebra sharks are not dangerous to humans and can be easily approached underwater. However, they have bitten divers who pull on their tails or attempt to ride them. As of 2008 there is one record of an unprovoked attack in the International Shark Attack File, though no injuries resulted.[5] They are popular attractions for ecotourist divers in the Red Sea, off the Maldives, off Thailand's Phuket and Phi Phi islands, on the Great Barrier Reef, and elsewhere. Many zebra sharks at diving sites have become accustomed to the presence of humans, taking food from divers' hands and allowing themselves to be touched. The zebra shark adapts well to captivity and is displayed by a number of public aquaria around the world. The small, attractively colored young also find their way into the hands of private hobbyists, though this species grows far too large for the home aquarium.[3]

The zebra shark is taken by commercial fisheries across most of its range, using bottom trawls, gillnets, and longlines.[3] The meat is sold fresh or dried and salted for human consumption. Furthermore, the liver oil is used for vitamins, the fins for shark fin soup, and the offal for fishmeal.[20] Zebra sharks are highly susceptible to localized depletion due to their shallow habitat and low levels of dispersal between populations, and market surveys suggest that they are much less common now than in the past. They are also threatened by the degradation of their coral reef habitat by human development, and by destructive fishing practices such as dynamiting or poisoning. As a result, the World Conservation Union has assessed this species as Endangered. Off Australia, the only threat to this species is a very low level of bycatch in prawn trawls, and there it has been assessed as of Least Concern.[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c Dudgeon, C.L., Simpfendorfer, C. & Pillans, R.D. (2019). Stegostoma fasciatum (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-3.RLTS.T41878A161303882.en
  2. ^ a b c d e Martin, R.A. (January 31, 1999). Albino Zebras and Leopards Changing Their Spots. ReefQuest Centre for Shark Research. Retrieved on May 12, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Compagno, L.J.V. (2002). Sharks of the World: An Annotated and Illustrated Catalogue of Shark Species Known to Date (Volume 2). Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization. pp. 184–188. ISBN 978-92-5-104543-5.
  4. ^ a b c Dahl, R.B.; E.E. Sigsgaard; G. Mwangi; P.F. Thomsen; R.D. Jørgensen; F.d.O. Torquato; L. Olsen; P.R. Møller (2019). "The Sandy Zebra Shark: A New Color Morph of the Zebra Shark Stegostoma tigrinum, with a Redescription of the Species and a Revision of Its Nomenclature". Copeia. 107 (3): 524–541. doi:10.1643/CG-18-115.
  5. ^ a b c d e Bester, C. Biological Profiles: Zebra Shark. Florida Museum of Natural History Ichthyology Department. Retrieved on May 12, 2009.
  6. ^ Van der Elst, R. & Borchert, P. (1993). A Guide to the Common Sea Fishes of Southern Africa (third ed.). Struik. pp. 63. ISBN 978-1-86825-394-4.
  7. ^ a b Goto, T. (2001). "Comparative Anatomy, Phylogeny and Cladistic Classification of the Order Orectolobiformes (Chondrichthyes, Elasmobranchii)". Memoirs of the Graduate School of Fisheries Science, Hokkaido University. 48 (1): 1–101.
  8. ^ Dingerkus, G. (1986). "Interrelationships of orectolobiform sharks (Chondrichthyes: Selachii)". In Uyeno, T.; Arai, R.; Taniuchi, T.; Matsuura, K. (eds.). Indo-Pacific fish biology: Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Indo-Pacific Fishes. Tokyo: Ichthyological Society of Japan. pp. 227–245.
  9. ^ Randall, J.E. & Hoover, J.P. (1995). Coastal Fishes of Oman. University of Hawaii Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-8248-1808-1.
  10. ^ a b c d e Dudgeon, C.L.; Noad, M.J. & Lanyon, J.M. (2008). "Abundance and demography of a seasonal aggregation of zebra sharks Stegostoma fasciatum". Marine Ecology Progress Series. 368: 269–281. Bibcode:2008MEPS..368..269D. doi:10.3354/meps07581.
  11. ^ Dudgeon, C.L.; Broderick, D. & Ovenden, J.R. (2009). "IUCN classification zones concord with, but underestimate, the population genetic structure of the zebra shark Stegostoma fasciatum in the Indo-West Pacific". Molecular Ecology. 18 (2): 248–261. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2008.04025.x. PMID 19192179.
  12. ^ a b c Martin, R.A. Coral Reefs: Zebra Shark. ReefQuest Centre for Shark Research. Retrieved on May 12, 2009.
  13. ^ Pillans, R.D. & Simpfendorfer, C.A. (2003). "Zebra shark, Stegostoma fasciatum (Hermann, 1783)". In Cavanagh, R.D.; Kyne, P.M.; Fowler, S.L.; Musick, J.A. & Bennet, M.B. (eds.). The Conservation Status of Australasian Chondrichthyans: Report of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group Australia and Oceania Regional Red List Workshop. Queensland: IUCN. pp. 60–61.
  14. ^ Brunnschweiler, J.M. & Pratt, H.L. (Jr.) (2008). "Putative Male – Male Agonistic Behaviour in Free-Living Zebra Sharks, Stegostoma fasciatum". The Open Fish Science Journal. 1 (1): 23–27. doi:10.2174/1874401X00801010023.
  15. ^ a b c Kunize, K. & Simmons, L. (2004). "Notes on Reproduction of the Zebra Shark, Stegostoma fasciatum, in a Captive Environment". In Smith, M.; Warmolts, D.; Thoney, D. & Hueter, R. (eds.). The Elasmobranch Husbandry Manual: Captive Care of Sharks, Rays and their Relatives. Special Publication of the Ohio Biological Survey. pp. 493–497. ISBN 978-0-86727-152-2.
  16. ^ "Zebra shark at centre of 'virgin birth' mystery" (January 5, 2012). BBC News. Retrieved on January 5, 2012.
  17. ^ Cummins, Anna (January 17, 2017). "Zebra shark surprises scientists by giving birth without male". CNN. Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  18. ^ "Virgin Birth: Zebra Shark Has Babies Without Mating". Live Science. Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  19. ^ Dudgeon, Christine L.; Coulton, Laura; Bone, Ren; Ovenden, Jennifer R.; Thomas, Severine (2017). "Switch from sexual to parthenogenetic reproduction in a zebra shark". Scientific Reports. 7: 40537. Bibcode:2017NatSR...740537D. doi:10.1038/srep40537. PMID 28091617.
  20. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2009). "Stegostoma fasciatum" in FishBase. May 2009 version.

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Zebra shark: Brief Summary

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The zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum) is a species of carpet shark and the sole member of the family Stegostomatidae. It is found throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific, frequenting coral reefs and sandy flats to a depth of 62 m (203 ft). Adult zebra sharks are distinctive in appearance, with five longitudinal ridges on a cylindrical body, a low caudal fin comprising nearly half the total length, and usually a pattern of dark spots on a pale background. Young zebra sharks under 50–90 cm (20–35 in) long have a completely different pattern, consisting of light vertical stripes on a brown background, and lack the ridges. This species attains a length of 2.5 m (8.2 ft).

Zebra sharks are nocturnal and spend most of the day resting motionless on the sea floor. At night, they actively hunt for molluscs, crustaceans, small bony fishes, and possibly sea snakes inside holes and crevices in the reef. Though solitary for most of the year, they form large seasonal aggregations. The zebra shark is oviparous: females produce several dozen large egg capsules, which they anchor to underwater structures via adhesive tendrils. Innocuous to humans and hardy in captivity, zebra sharks are popular subjects of ecotourism dives and public aquaria. The World Conservation Union has assessed this species as Endangered worldwide, as it is taken by commercial fisheries across most of its range (except off Australia) for meat, fins, and liver oil. There is evidence that its numbers are dwindling.

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Description

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A tropical inshore shark, that inhabits sand, rubble, or coral bottoms of the continental and insular shelves. Able to squirm into narrow cracks, crevices and channel in reefs. Recorded to have entered freshwater (Ref. 4735). Temp. range: 26.0-29.0 °C (Ref. 4959). Rests on the bottom during the day and feeds mainly on molluscs, also on crustaceans (crabs and shrimps) and small bony fishes at night (Ref. 1602). Oviparous. Sluggish, slow-swimming fish; not aggressive when approached and generally regarded as harmless (Ref. 2334). May bite when provoked. Fair eating (Ref. 8528). It is used for fishmeal, oil, liver processed into vitamins (Ref. 9333), and the fins are dried for the oriental sharkfin trade in Pakistan (Ref. 2872).
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Froese, R. & D. Pauly (Editors). (2021). FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. version (02/2021). Froese, R. & D. Pauly (Editors). (2021). FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. version (02/2021).
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