Leopard Shark

Creature Feature – Leopard Shark

This week is the letter ‘L’, and today’s featured creature is the Leopard Shark. 

Leopard sharks are a species of houndshark (ground sharks) famous for their unique pattern of black saddle-like markings and large spots.

Creature Feature Friday - Leopard Shark

Taxonomy

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Order: Carcharhiniformes

Family: Triakidae

Genus: Triakis

Leopard Shark Fact File

? Size: Individuals can reach a maximum length of 1.8m and weigh up to 18.4kg

? Distribution: This species can be found along the Pacific coast of North America, from Oregon to the Gulf of California in Mexico. The leopard shark is most commonly found in sandy or muddy bays and estuaries either at or near the bottom

? Diet: They feed on a variety of invertebrates, including crabs, small fish, and squid

? Behaviour: Females are ovoviviparous (ovoviviparous animals produce eggs, but instead of laying the eggs, the eggs develop within the mother’s body and are birthed live) and can produce litters of 4 to 29 pups

? IUCN Status: Least Concern. However, due to the relatively late age of first reproduction, the slow growth rate, and the low reproduction rate, the species is potentially threatened by overfishing. Loss and alteration of habitat, especially in coastal bays and estuaries, is also a concern for this species