shark, Leopard shark.
fasciatum, Stegostoma varium
scalloped (with two distinct ridges running from behind head along each flank
into caudal fin. Caudal fin almost as long as body. First and second dorsal fins
low and long. Pectorals well developed. Body colouration cream, yellow, or
greenish yellow, with dense black spots. Juveniles have vertical lines of black
on cream. Hence common name.
length 3.5m. 25cm at birth. Colouration changes at around 90cm.
and offshore adjacent to reefs.
and distribution: Red Sea south to
South Africa, west to Indonesia and Samoa and from Japan to Australia.
seen resting on the sand or rubble adjacent to reefs during the day.
Hunts in same area nocturnally. Feeds on molluscs, crustaceans, and occasionally
on bony fishes.
Up to four purple to brown egg cases are laid at a time. During mating
the male bites on to the pectoral fin of the female. Juveniles are rarely seen
and probably inhabit waters deeper than recreational scuba allows.
Bon and the Similan Group.
to divers: May
allow a very close approach if not crowded by divers. Some individuals bolt when
in near proximity to divers but occasional specimens remain for extended periods
even when touched. This is a good species for photographers. Harmless.
Diving logistics: In
Thailand Zebra sharks can be reliably seen at Koh Bon, around Koh
Peepee, Hin Maung, The Surin Group, Various locations in the Similans, and other
off shore reefs all the way to Burma. Live aboard dive ships leave Phuket daily
for the run to the Similans and all other island groups can be reached most of
the year. Organising a live aboard is best left until arrival to find a cheap
package. Other than this there are many online outfits that are willing to book
1 to 5 day (or more) trips that cover many of the mentioned sites. South Similan
Divers operates live aboard dive vessels on permanent station in the Similans
and Koh Bon that are serviced by speed boat shuttle daily allowing guests to
start and finish their holiday any time they wish. The dive ships can get very crowded
especially around Xmas and New year and during other Thai holidays sometimes
carrying upto seventy people!
Other diving locations submitted by readers:
An albino Zebra shark photographed by Chris
Adams at East Wallabi Island in the Abrolhos Group, Western Australiaz
Sharks and Rays of the World. Scott W. Michael. Sea Challengers.
and Rays - Elasmobranch Guide of the World. Ralf M. Hennemann. IKAN.