Leopard shark

Leopard shark

name = Leopard shark
image_width = 240px
status = LR/cd
status_system = IUCN2.3

regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Chondrichthyes
subclassis = Elasmobranchii
ordo = Carcharhiniformes
familia = Triakidae
genus = "Triakis"
species = "T. semifasciata"
binomial = "Triakis semifasciata"
binomial_authority = Girard, 1855

The leopard shark, "Triakis semifasciata", is a hound shark found in the coastal waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean, along the coast of North America from Oregon to Baja California.

The species can grow up to 7 ft (2.12 m) in length, with a long, slender body and head. The distinctive markings that give the species its common name provide camouflage against dappled ground. Leopard sharks are bottom feeders, eating worms, mollusks, crustaceans, octopuses, and small fish.

Leopard sharks migrate seasonally. Their reproduction is aplacental viviparity (no yolk-sack placenta); the 4 to 29 pups per litter gestate within the body of the female and are born live. Gestation is estimated at 10 to 12 months.

The sharks hunt in groups, sometimes with smooth-hound sharks. The species is actively sought by sport fishermen in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Monterey Bay for its tender, flavorful flesh. Conservationists are concerned with sport fishing of the species, which, like most sharks, reproduces slowly.


Leopard Sharks are generally 20 to 23 cm. at birth (or 8 to 9 inch). The largest recorded size is approximately 180 cm. long. The average size of an adult leopard shark is between 50 and 60 inches (120cm to 150 cm). It can weigh up to 71 lb (32 kg).cite book |last=Kindersley |first= Dorling |year=2001,2005 |title=Animal |location=New York City |publisher=DK Publishing |isbn=0-7894-7764-5]


Leopard sharks are found in rocky areas, rocky reefs, kelp beds, sandy areas and under piers. Leopard sharks swim at depths of 10 to 250 ft. They are usually seen swimming at 20 feet or less. They prefer cold to warm water. They are often seen at large shoals but when breeding can be solitary.


Leopard sharks range from Mazatlan, Mexico, to Oregon. Tagging has revealed that stock is mostly resident in San Francisco Bay. However, about 10 percent of the population moves into the ocean seasonally, and one male tagged in San Francisco Bay was recaptured in Santa Monica Bay 10 years later. Mixing between regional stocks is thought to be limited.



* Database entry includes justification for why this species is dependent on conservation
* Ebert, David, "Sharks, Rays and Chimaeras of California", University of California Press, 2003
* Smith, Susan "California Marine Living Resources: A Status Report (Leopard Shark)", California Department of game and fish, 2001
*author unknown. Sharks and Rays Pictures and Information from around the world. http://www.elasmodiver.com/Leopard%20Shark.htm, Date retrieved: Thursday, May 22, 2008
*Delius, Bryan. "Leopard Shark." Florida Museum of Natural History. 27 May 2008 .

External links

* [http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Gallery/Descript/LeopardShark/LeopardShark.html Biological Profile] , Florida Museum of Natural History Ichthyology Department

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Look at other dictionaries:

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