Stegostoma fasciatum (Zebra shark)
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Stegostoma fasciatum (Zebra shark) [Illustration
by Ann Hecht ©]
An unmistakable long-tailed shark, yellow-brown
with black spots in adults, black with yellow bars in young.
To 3.5 m TL.
East coast from Cape St. Francis to Natal and
Mozambique; widespread in the tropical Indian Ocean and Western
An inshore shelf-dweller, common on coral reefs.
Common off Natal and Mozambique, rare in the eastern Cape.
Lays several large, dark brown or purplish-black egg cases with fine hairlike fibers, which anchor them to the bottom. Feeds on octopi,
clams, mussels, marine snails, crabs, shrimp, and small bony fish.
Its relatively narrow, slender, flexible body allows it to squirm
into cracks, crevices, and narrow channels in the reefs while
searching for food. Rare south of Natal.
elsewhere for human consumption.
Text by Leonard J.V. Compagno, David A. Ebert
and Malcolm J. Smale