Top Ten Shark Countdown- #6

Who is the Shark of the Week???

The Zebra shark!!!

128068-Zebra Shark (adult)-Stegostoma varium

The Facts:

Zebra sharks are part of the order called Carpetsharks, which are named so because of the elaborate pattens on their skin. This particular species of Carpetsharks can grow up to be around twelve feet long. Like the Thresher shark, the tail of a Zebra shark is almost as long as it’s body. Carpetsharks share several features: two spineless dorsal fins (you can see this clearly in the picture above), mouths in front of their eyes, and barbels (sensory attachments) that extend from their nostrils or jaws.

Though the Zebra shark can grow up to be about 12 feet long in length, its flexible body allows it to squeeze into narrow crevices to find food. Speaking of food, these sharks eat reef mollusks, crustaceans, and other small fish.  They hunt primarily at night and rest on the sea bottom during the day. Like all bottom-dwelling sharks, the zebra shark can pump water over its gills and this allows it to “sit” on the bottom of the ocean. These sharks are found around reefs close to shore in the western Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Red Sea.

These sharks are absolutely no threat to humans.

Interesting Fact: Zebra sharks are in the same order as the Whale shark, a gentle giant.

On a sad note, the Zebra shark is not considered to be threatened or endangered, but they are regularly taken in by inshore fisheries. Their population could start declining at any moment and then they will be on the endangered list. For the sake of how docile and lovable these sharks are we need to help them now before it gets to the point where there is a possibility of them going extinct. There has never been a case where a Zebra shark has harmed any humans and, yet, many of them are being killed by fisheries.

Why did the Zebra Shark make the Top Ten Countdown??

I chose this shark as number six on the countdown because of how interesting it is to look at. When Zebra sharks are pups their bodies are dark with yellowish stripes, thus coining the name “zebra”. As they grow up, however, these juveniles lose their stripes and in their place forms dark spots on a grayish-tan background. These sharks often get misidentified as leopard sharks (I find this a bit ironic…). This fact alone makes the Zebra shark interesting because there are a few animals in the world who make this kind of transformation in their lifetime. At least in the shark world, the only shark I know of who changes patterns on their skin is the Zebra shark.

Also, out of all sharks species, the Zebra shark’s face is perhaps the most heart-warming. The shark honestly looks like it’s smiling at you. Some people may judge me for saying this, but the Zebra shark is one of the most adorable sharks out there. Not only are these sharks harmless, but they are some of the most visually appealing sharks out there. You go cuties!



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