Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays)
Order; Orectolobiformes (Carpet sharks) Most carpet sharks feed on the seabed in shallow to medium-depth waters and have ornate patterns reminiscent of carpets.
Family: Stegostomatidae (Zebra sharks)

Genus/species: Stegastoma fasciatum ( juvenile)

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: S. fasciatum has a cylindrical body with a large, slightly flattened head and a short, blunt snout and is yellow-brown with dark brown spots. Young less than 70 cm (2,3 feet) in length are black with yellow bars. Adults have longitudinal skin ridges. The head has 5 small gill slits, the last three behind pectoral fin origin; nostrils close to front of snout, with short barbels.  Pectoral fins are large and broadly rounded and body has a long caudal fin, almost as long as the rest of the body.

Length up to 354 cm (11.7 feet) 

Zebra Shark 16235954845_08c3bb04f1_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Tropical marine. Indo-West Pacific. Found near coral reefs with sandy bottoms and remain at the reef at where they were hatched or reefs that are closely connected to their natal area.

Depth range 0 – 63 m (206 feet).

DIET IN THE WILD: Feeds mainly on mollusks, but also small bony fishes, crustaceans (crabs and shrimps) and sea snakes.

REPRODUCTION: Oviparous S. fasciatum has large purplish-black eggs or dark brown egg cases with longitudinal striations.

Lifespan: Ave. 25 years. 

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List; Vulnerable (VU)     Decreasing numbers secondary to heavily fished shallow coral reef habitat throughout all its range except Australia.

Remarks: Like other bottom dwelling sharks, it can pump water across its gills through its mouth, which allows the shark to respire while stationary. 

It was tank bred at the Shedd Aquarium.


California Academy of Sciences Reef Lagoon 2016


IUCN Red List


Animal diversity web


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