IUCN threat status:

Vulnerable (VU)

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Description

The leopard shark is an immediately recognisable, stunningly attractive species, which derives its common name from its distinctive markings of dark brown leopard-like spots set against a yellow-brown skin tone (2). Juveniles, which are less than 70 centimetres in length, can be distinguished from adults by their markedly different colouration. This consists of narrow white stripes and blotches contrasted against a dark brown base colour, from which its alternative common name of 'zebra shark' arises (3) (4). Adults also have prominent longitudinal skin ridges that are lacking in young (5). This shark has a cylindrical body with large pectoral fins, two close-set spineless dorsal fins and a very long caudal fin, almost as long as the rest of the body (2). There are five gill slits on the sides of its broad head (6). Harmless to man, this beautiful shark is approachable, especially during the day as it rests on the seabed (3).

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Source: ARKive

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