Zebra Shark

Theme area:  Tunnel aux requins
Scientific name:  Stegostoma fasciatum
Class:  Chordates
Order:   Vertebrates
Suborder:   Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fish)
Family:   Ginglymostomatidae
Subfamily:   Ginglymostoma
Continent:  Red Sea, Indo-Pacific
Habitat:  Oceans and seas
Diet:  Piscivorous
Weight:  30 kg
Size:  2.5-3 m
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The zebra shark is so called because in the juvenile stage its body is striped. Its head is rounded, its caudal fin very long and it has 5 to 7 gill slits on the sides behind the head. It lives on sandy bottoms, near coral reefs in the Indian and Pacific oceans. It can go up to 62 m deep but generally remains between 5 and 30 m.

 

BIOLOGY AND ECOLOGY

This species is oviparous, the female usually lays 2 to 4 eggs. Baby zebra sharks measure 20 to 30 cm at birth.

The reproduction of the zebra shark in the aquarium has shown that the females of this species are capable of parthenogenesis: They can produce viable eggs, which give birth to females without fertilization by a male! It feeds on molluscs, small fish and crustaceans and can live for 25 years.

THREATS

The zebra shark is mainly a victim of fishing. It is fished for its meat, fins and oil and leather is even made from its skin.

PRESENTATIONS AND ENCOUNTERS

Conservation status (assessed by IUCN)
Extinct
Extinct in the wild
Critically endangered
Endangered
Vulnerable
Near threatened
Least concern
Insufficient data
Not evaluated

DID YOU KNOW?

Solitary animal, it is so called because in the juvenile stage its body is streaked, but once adult its stripes turn into round spots. This is why it is regularly confused with the leopard shark (Triakis semifasciatus) which is however twice as small.
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