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Zebra Sharks

(Stegostomatidae)

Requiem sharks Whale Sharks

The Zebra Shark family contains only one member, the Zebra, or Leopard Shark. Whilst not as common in recent years, there are still a few dive sites where we have a good chance to see these sharks, for example Hin Bida, or Hin Klai. These sharks are often found resting on the sandy bottoms close the the reef edge.

Nocturnal feeders, Zebra Sharks hunt for crustaceans, small fish and molluscs amongst the reef and sandy bottoms at night. During the day they spend their time resting on the sea floor. You may see them propped up on their large broad pectoral fins facing the current in channels. With their mouths open they will filter water to help with respiration, as the tightened space yields oxygenated water faster.

1 species found on this page.

Zebra (Leopard) Shark

Stegostoma fasciatum

Young juvenile leopard sharks, have a different colour pattern entirely, they have light zebra stripes on a dark background. Adult Leopard sharks have been known to reach 3 meters in size. They have 5 horizontal ridges along their long cylindrical bodies and their spot markings are so varied between adults that it is possible to identify individuals.

Zebra (Leopard) Shark (Stegostoma fasciatum) @ Hin Bida

Stegostoma fasciatum @ Hin Bida

The zebra shark nostrils have a short barbel with a groove running to their mouth, which has around 30 rows of teeth in the upper and lower jaws. Leopard Sharks are strong and agile swimmers, propelling them selves with their long tails, that will grow as long as their body.

Zebra (Leopard) Shark (Stegostoma fasciatum) @ Hin Bida

Zebra Shark @ Hin Bida

A male zebra shark will chase and bite the females fins during mating. He will wrap his body around hers and insert one of his claspers into her cloaca.

Females may lay up to 40 - 50 egg capsules in batches of around 4, over a period of 100 days. The large egg capsules are around 6cm long, 7cm wide and approximately 5cm thick. The egg case is a dark brown colour with hair-like fibres which allow the eggs to be attached to the substrate. After a gestation period of up to 6 months the 10inch pups will hatch fully developed and independent.

Find Out More: Marine Life References and Further Information

Diving with Zebra Sharks

Spot Zebra Sharks around Koh Lanta on one of our high season dive and snorkel trips.

Join our speedboat trips to some of the best dive sites in Thailand and enjoy small groups, great personal service and short journey times on our fast boats.

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