A new Zebra Shark has joined the large pool in the Paris Aquarium in the capital of France. The Zebra Shark has been named Rôti, which is French for Roast. It joins other Zebra Sharks but Rôti is easily recognized because it is the smallest of the Zebra Sharks.
Rôti comes from the Skegness Aquarium in England, as part of an exchange for the preservation of species. Skegness is a seaside town in Lincolnshire on the east coast of England. The Skegness Aquarium opened in 2015.
The Zebra Shark (Stegostoma fasciatum) is an endangered marine (saltwater) fish in the Stegostomatidae family of carpet sharks. It is an elasmobranch cartilaginous fish — a fish that does not have a bony skeleton.
The Zebra Shark has a slim, cylindrical body with a slightly flattened head, and a short, blunt snout (nose). It is pale with a pattern of dark spots that is different for each shark. It has five ridges along its body. It eyes are small and its nose has short barbels (like whiskers) from each nostril. Its mouth is almost straight with rows of sharp teeth. It has gill slits on the sides of its body to breathe underwater.
It grows to 250-350 centimetres (98-138 inches) in length.
It is found in tropical waters in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, known as the Indo-Pacific region.
It prefers coral reefs and sandy flats. It is benthic, which means that it is a bottom-dweller.
It is nocturnal, active at night. It feeds on fish, snails, crabs, octopus, squid, and sea snakes. Rôti is already eating molluscs, crustaceans, and fish. During the day, it rests motionless on the sea floor.
The Zebra Shark is usually solitary or see in groups of 20-50 individuals.
It is oviparous. The female lays up to 46 egg capsules which anchor onto plants and objects in the water. The eggs hatch after 120-180 days. The Paris Aquarium staff add that, in addition to conventional reproduction, females are able to self-fertilize and therefore produce viable eggs without a male.
Young Zebra Sharks, called hatchlings, have a completely different pattern than their parents, consisting of white vertical stripes on a brown to black background. The colour pattern is dark-brown above and light-yellow below, with vertical yellow stripes and spots. Therefore, the name Zebra Shark, comes from its juvenile colours.
The Paris Aquarium staff say that people often confuse the Zebra Shark with the Leopard Shark, but the Leopard Shark is a different species.
The lifespan of the Zebra Shark has been estimated to be 25–30 years.
Location of photographs: Aquarium de Paris-Cinéaqua, France
Photographer: Aquarium de Paris-Cinéaqua
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM