The Leopard Shark (Triakis semifasciata) is a marine (saltwater) cartilaginous fish.
The Leopard Shark is a slender shark with a pattern of black markings and large spots on its back. Its belly is plain and whitish. It has a short, rounded snout (nose). Its eyes are large and oval. It has a downward-curved mouth.
It measures 120-150 centimetres (47-59 inches) in length.
The Leopard Shark is native to the Pacific coast of North America. It prefers bays and estuaries with sandy or muddy bottoms, near reefs. It prefers shallow coastal waters.
It is carnivorous, eating clams, worms, crabs, shrimp, bony fish, and fish eggs.
It is mainly nocturnal, active at night.
It is often seen in schools, swimming close to the sea floor.
The Leopard Shark is aplacental viviparous, meaning that the young hatch inside the female. The female gives birth to 1-37 live young after a pregnancy of 10-12 months.
The average lifespan of the Leopard Shark is about 30 years.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM