Zebra Shark

Size: Up to 11.5 feet
Habitat/Range: Near-shore reefs of the Indo-West Pacific region
IUCN Status: Vulnerable


The zebra shark is a large, bottom-oriented shark living in Pacific coral reefs. Like most other large bottom sharks, the zebra shark will rest during the day and hunt at night. Its main diet consists of mollusks, but it will also eat crabs, shrimp and lobster. Unlike most sharks, it does not have a bottom lobe on its tail, which gives it a very snake-like appearance. This long and sleek shark can wriggle its flexible body into reef crevices and caves to hunt for food. The zebra shark gets its name from the black stripes that cover the body when it is young. As it matures, the stripes fade and turn to spots. Because of this, it is also known as a "leopard" shark in some areas. There are five distinctive ridges running along the body in adults, one along the dorsal midline and two on the sides. The zebra shark is an oviparous species meaning that it releases egg cases into the environmental where they are anchored to the bottom substrate by hair-like fibers.