SCUBA TravelLeopard Shark
Leopard Shark, Lady Elliot Island, Australia

Photo copyright Tim Nicholson.
Stegastoma fasciatum, Leopard Shark
Taken off Lady Elliot Island, Australia.

Reaching lengths of 3.5 metres, the Leopard shark is found at depths of 5 to over 30 m. It sits lazily on the bottom and is easy to get close to. This shark feeds mainly at night on small fish and molluscs. Its offspring hatch from large, dark brown, egg cases when around 25 cm. Found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, including the Red Sea, Thailand and of course Australia where this photo was taken. Harmless unless provoked.

The leopard shark is the only member of the Stegostomatidae (Zebra shark) family. It's called the Zebra shark family as the juveniles are black with yellow stripes.

Further Reading
Sharks and Rays of Australia, by Kelvin Aitken (2002)
Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea, by John E. Randall, Gerald R. Allen, Roger C. Steene (1996)
The Shark Handbook, Applesauce Press (2008)
The Underwater Photographer: Digital and Traditional Techniques, by by Martin Edge, Paperback, 536 pages (2009)

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