Common Name: Zebra Shark

Scientific Name: Stegostoma fasciatum

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Chondrichthyes

Order: Orectolobiformes

Family: Stegostomatidae

Genus: Stegostoma

Species: S. faciatum

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People think sharks are dangerous, at least most of the world does. But scientist and kids in school know they only attack humans when they see something unusual such as our feet in the water. So most of the time they just swim away, but there are other times where they bite before they know what they are biting. Well you can see that I am interested in sharks, so I am going to tell you about one of my favorite species of sharks. The scientific name for it is Stegostoma faciatum, but what we usually call a Zebra Shark.

 

A Zebra Shark's maximum size is usually 3.5 meters its average size is 2.5- 3 meters. The coloration of a young Zebra Shark is always dark brown with white zebra stripes, an adult color is yellow with dark spots kind of like cheetah spots. The adaptations for this shark make it suited for sandy bottoms and coral reefs. You can only find this shark in the waters of Indo-West Pacific area Red sea fish down to Australia.

 Zebra Sharks feed on small creatures such as shrimp, urchins, crabs and small fish. This type of shark does very well in the ecosystem because there are so many fish to choose from. When the zebra shark eats it just balances out the population of fish. Even though Zebra Sharks are not endangered or threatened, they are taken to inshore fisheries and may be unbearable to decline! Few predators can tackle down an adult Zebra Shark so that means we will be having Zebra Sharks around for quite some time!

 

What stood out to me when I was researching about my animal is that it originally is born with zebra stripes, then as it grows up the strips disappear and black cheetah spots take its place, isn't that amazing! What I learned on this wild, crazy journey is that sharks are just like people; they are loving, caring, and generous animals. That's only if you're on their good side!

Author: Chellsie P.
Published: 03/2009

Sources: http://www.shark.ch/Database/PhylogeneticTree/sh_fam.html?fam=5012 http://marinebio.org/species.asp?id=56 http://www.azfamily.com/pets/zoo/stories/phoenix-pets-animals-012709-zebra-shark.bb16a07.html http://www.aqua.org/animals-zebrashark.html

 

Photo Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Oc%C3%A9anopolis_-_les_aquariums_010.JPG