The species that goes by the common name Leopard Shark was cataloged in 1854 and does not offer any type of risk to humans.
|Leopard Shark: Triakis Semifasciata Species Considers Harmless|
And because it is harmless, this fish is captured for commercial or recreational fishing, being used as food or attraction in aquariums.
In this sense, follow us and understand more characteristics of the species.
- Scientific name – Triakis semifasciata;
- Family – Triakidae.
Leopard Shark Characteristics
The Leopard Shark has a robust body as well as a short, rounded snout.
The animal also has a curved mouth line and features grooves at the corners that extend into the jaws.
There are 34 to 45 rows of teeth in the lower jaw, while in the upper jaw, 41 to 55 can be seen.
This way, each tooth has a sharp point in the center of the top and the corners are rounded.
Two teeth also have a sharp end, but they are small.
And all the teeth are on a flat surface, forming lines that are one on top of the other.
Regarding the coloration, this characteristic would be the one that most differentiates the fish.
This is because there is a pattern of spots or bands along the dorsal part, which brings us to the common name “Leopard” and the color would be silver or gray-bronze.
Thus, adult individuals have a greater number of bands that are lighter.
In addition, all fish have a smooth, whitish underside.
Otherwise, the average length would be 1.2 to 1.5 m and the highest recorded weight was 18.4 kg.
An important characteristic observed in larger specimens would be the maximum size of 2.1 m for females and only 1.5 m for males.
Leopard Shark Reproduction
As an ovoviviparous fish, the female Leopard Shark generates the young in eggs that are inside her body.
These eggs hatch inside the uterus and the young are nourished by the yolk sac.
Thus, it is believed that the birth of the offspring occurs from March to June and the female generates 37 offspring.
The gestation period is 10 to 12 months and the young have a slow growth rate.
That is, fish become sexually mature several years after birth.
And a point that should be highlighted is that the young form large schools that are divided according to age and sex.
The Leopard Shark is a great predator of crabs, shrimp, bony fish, clams, worms and fish eggs.
But, know that some individuals become prey in specific locations, which means that the capture depends on the place, age of the shark and also the time of year.
For example, crabs and worms serve as food only in the interior of Monterrey Bay, during the winter and spring period.
Egg consumption occurs between winter and early summer.
In view of this, as a catching strategy, the fish expands its mouth cavity in order to create suction force.
This is possible thanks to the movements of the labial cartilages that are made while the fish forms a tube with its mouth.
Simultaneously, the shark also projects its jaws and grabs victims with its teeth.
As a first curiosity, know that the fish of the species have electroreceptor organs. By the way, they are also called “ampoules of Lorenzini”. They are responsible for detecting the lines of force of electric fields.
Another relevant point would be the need to conserve the species, something indicated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Although the IUCN has acknowledged that the concern for the species is minor, it is believed that in several places the fish are being overexploited.
And this is because development is slow and individuals cannot perform migration easily.
When we consider the population on the coasts of California, for example, it is possible to observe a decline in the year 1980.
As a result, the regions developed new fishing regulations to reduce exploitation in 1990.
Where to find Leopard Shark
The Leopard Shark is present on the North American coast of the Pacific, including regions from Oregon to Mazatlán.
Thus, it also inhabits Baja California, Mexico.
The young prefer to form large schools in estuaries and bays, as well as the adults swim over the flat muddy and sandy areas.
Other common places to see the species would be rocky regions close to reefs.
And because they inhabit both cold waters and warm temperate waters, individuals also stay in effluent discharge sites.
In general, the fish stay close to the bottom, at a depth that varies from 4 to 91 m.
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