TAXONOMY

Class: Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays)

Subclass: elasmobranchii (No swim bladders, five to seven pairs of gill clefts opening individually to the exterior, rigid dorsal fins, and small placid scales).

Order: Carcharhiniformes (Ground sharks)

Family: Triakidae (Houndsharks are distinguished by possessing two large spineless dorsal fins, an anal fin, and oval eyes with nictitating eyelids. They are small to medium in size, ranging from 37 centimetres (15 in) to 220 centimetres (7.2 ft).

Genus/species: Triakis semifasciata,

Leopard Shark 2959038532_163d96da28_o

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Short, broadly rounded snout. First dorsal fin is moderately large and its origin is over the pectoral fins inner margins. Second dorsal fin is nearly as large as the first one. Anal fin much smaller than the second dorsal fin. Pectoral fins broadly triangular. Grey to bronze-grey upper body with dark saddles and dots and a light ventral (bottom) surface. Max length : 198 cm or 78 in.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Common from Oregon state to Baja California,Mexico. Prefers sandy and rock-strewn substrate near rocky reefs. Most commonly in enclosed muddy bays, including estuaries and lagoons, typically at less than 3.7 m or 13 ft depth, but ranges to 91m or 300 ft.

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DIET IN WILD: Fishes (especially northern midshipman, sanddab, shiner perch, bat rays and smoothhounds), siphons of clams, crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp. Feeds heavily on fish eggs (herring, jacksmelt and topsmelt) attached to rocks and plants.

REPRODUCTION: Ovoviviparous. Litters 4–29. Young average 21 cm or 8 in at birth.

PREDATORS: Can live to at least 30 years. Part of the commercial shark fishery and very popular as a sport “fish.”

Preyed upon by other sharks.

Leopard Shark 8415453774_b665c7a08e_o

REMARKS: In San Francisco Bay, leopard sharks tend to remain in the Bay throughout the year, with some emigration during fall and winter.
Fossils of leopard sharks have been discovered in deposits dated to more than 1,000,000 years old in southern California.

California Rocky Coast CC06

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