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Zebra Sharks

(Stegostomatidae)

Requiem sharks Whale Sharks

The Zebra Shark family contains only one member, the Zebra, or as we call it here in Thailand, the Leopard Shark.

These carpet sharks are often found resting on the sandy bottoms close to the reef edge, and we're most likely to see them at Hin Bida, or Hin Klai, and occasionally at Koh Bida Nok or Koh Bida Nai.

1 species found on this page.

Zebra (Leopard) Shark

Stegostoma fasciatum

Leopard sharks have a long cylindrical body, with a short blunt snout and a flattened head. The small eyes are located to the sides of the head.

The nostrils have short downward pointing barbels with a groove running to the mouth. There are up to 30 rows of small teeth in both the upper and lower jaws.

Adult Leopard sharks have been known to reach 3 metres 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.

Juvenile leopard sharks have a different colour pattern entirely, they have light zebra stripes on a dark background, slowly changing to leopard-like spots when they reach 50 - 90 cm in length.

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

Stegostoma fasciatum @ Hin Bida

Leopard Sharks are strong and agile swimmers, propelling themselves with their long powerful tails which make up nearly 50% of their total length.

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 seafloor. You may see them propped up on their large broad pectoral fins facing the current in channels.

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 5 cm 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.

Not yet a diver? Discover a whole new world with our Discover Scuba Diving introduction experience, or get your PADI with us here on Koh Lanta.

If you're already a certified diver, take your diving knowledge and skills to the next level with the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course.

Book online to save 10% on scuba diving trips and PADI courses.

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