Phylum– Chordata

Class– Chondrichthyles


Common NameCarpet Sharks

Stegostomatidae is the family Zebra sharks belonging to the order Orectolobiformes. The Zebra shark (Stegostoma fasciatum) is a species of shark and the sole member of the family Stegostomatidae. It is found throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific, visiting coral reefs and sandy flats to a depth of 203 feet. Adult Zebra sharks are characteristic in appearance, with five longitudinal ridges on a cylindrical body, a low caudal fin covering nearly half the total length, and a pattern of dark spots on a pale background. Young Zebra sharks have a completely different pattern, consisting of light vertical stripes on a brown background, and lack the ridges. Zebra sharks can grow to a length of possibly 11.6 feet.

Zebra sharks are nocturnal and spend most of the day resting motionless on the sea floor. At night, they actively hunt for mollusks, crustaceans, small bony fishes, and possibly sea snakes inside holes and crevices in the reef. They may prop up on their pectorals with their mouth open, facing the current to aid in oxygen respiration. Though solitary for most of the year, they form large seasonal aggregations. The zebra shark is oviparous. Their egg cases are large, dark brown to purplish-black that are anchored to the bottom with fine tufts of fibers.

They are common but endangered due to their heavily fished range and desired skin. They also suffer from the loss of their coral reef habitat. Zebra sharks are not a threat to humans.