70 years of helping people to care for our ocean

Zebra sharks can change their stripes

We all know that a leopard can’t change its spots, but did you know that zebra sharks can change their stripes.
 
Leopard sharks (also known as zebra sharks) change their juvenile stripped body pattern resembling that of a zebra to their distinctive spotted pattern (much like a leopard) as they mature.
 
These curious looking sharks spend most of their life dozing on the ocean floor close to or on the reef. Their primary food source is molluscs, invertebrates and other animals living in the sand.
Although a lot smaller, their narrow, slender, flexible body resembles that of a whale shark with its long tail, flattened head and pronounced ridges running down their backs. Their body shape is ideal for squirming into cracks and crevices along the reef in search of food.
 
So next time you are in the aquarium make sure you allow for extra time towards the end of your walkabout to look out for the zebra sharks in the Reef Predator Exhibit.
 
Thank you, Don Hunter for the beautiful image of one of our three resident zebra sharks.
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