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Zebra Shark (Stegostoma fasciatum)

The Zebra Shark or Stegostoma fasciatum is a shark that is found in the Indo-Pacific around coral reefs in coastal areas around Australia, Eastern Africa and Southern Asia. These sharks are named for the vertical stripes that cover their bodies when they are young. As they grow older these stripes fade and they develop dark spots all over their brown bodies. They also grow five ridges that juveniles lack, from the tops of their heads down to their tails. You can see the difference for yourself by comparing the pictures below and above. Also known as the Leopard Shark, they can grow to about 8' (2.5 meters) in maximum length and are normally found at depths of less that 200'. These sharks are almost completely nocturnal, and will often just rest on the sea floor during the day. At night they will become active and will feed on crustaceans, sea snakes and small fish. Because of this sharks docile nature, divers often come in contact with this shark. Lucky for them Zebra Sharks are not considered to be a danger to humans. You can watch the Zebra Shark underwater for yourself in the video below.

When the Zebra Shark reproduces it will produce large eggs that are stuck to underwater structures or substrate by the female's tendrils. The eggs take about 3 or 4 weeks to hatch. The Zebra Shark is considered to be endangered because it is hunted not only for its meat, but also for its liver oil and fins as well. They can live to be about 30 years old if left alone by predators and fisherman.

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