Common names from other countries
Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays) > Orectolobiformes
(Carpet sharks) > Stegostomatidae
Etymology: Stegostoma: stego (Gr.), cover; stoma (Gr.), mouth, referring to how “upper jaw is surmounted by a thick, membranous bulge” (translation), i.e., rounded snout conceals upper jaw and mouth opening. (See ETYFish); tigrinum: Latin for banded or striped, referring to zebra-like vertical bars on juveniles. (See ETYFish).
More on author: Forster.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; brackish; reef-associated; amphidromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 90 m (Ref. 106604), usually 5 - 30 m (Ref. 1602). Tropical; 26°C - 29°C (Ref. 4959); 41°N - 30°S, 32°E - 169°W
Indo-West Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to New Caledonia and Fiji, north to southern Japan, south to New South Wales, Australia. Recently recorded from Tonga (Ref. 53797). Also from Persian Gulf (Ref. 247).
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?, range 170 - ? cm
Max length : 354 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 58048)
This species is distinguished by the following characters: a long caudal fin (49.9-54.2% TL), five dorsolateral ridges along the body, visible even in hatchlings; spiracles bean-shaped, large (length 0.4-1.7% TL); eyes small (length 0.9-2.1% TL); barbels two and short (0.6-2.8% TL); gill slits five, with fourth and fifth partly fused so only four noticeable from a distance; pectoral fins large (anterior margin length 10.4-19.1% TL), are broad and rounded; first dorsal fin originates far posteriorly above the pelvic fins; pectoral-fin rays of semi-plesodic structure, reaching ca. 66-88% of pectoral fin; vertebrae; total 207-262, monospondylous precaudal 43-49, diplospondylous precaudal 38-50, diplospondylous caudal 120-175, precaudal vertebrae 81-101; tooth rows on upper jaw 13-30, on lower jaw 22-30, and series count, upper jaw: 7-27, lower 8-16; ring-type intestine with 18-20 valvular turns. Two color morphs, with a three-stage ontogenetic color and pattern change: the Zebra morph with juveniles with dark brown background and cream colored bands (zebra-like), transitionals light brown with dark bands, broken up by dots and adults beige to yellow with spotted pattern (can be leopard-like); the sandy color morph: transitionals light beige background with swirly pattern of narrow, darker brown bands with tiny spots breaking up the pattern and with adults uniformly sandy beige with tiny dark brown freckles (Ref. 125658).
A tropical inshore shark found on sand, rubble, or coral bottoms of the continental and insular shelves (Ref. 247). Recorded to have entered freshwater (Ref. 4735). Rather sluggish at least during the day (Ref. 247). Probably nocturnal, feeds mainly on mollusks, but also small bony fishes (Ref. 9993). Also known to eat crustaceans (crabs and shrimps) and sea snakes (Ref. 43278). Oviparous (Ref. 43278, 50449). Slow-swimming and able to squirm into narrow cracks, crevices and channel in reefs while searching for food (Ref. 247). Readily kept in captivity (Ref. 247). May bite when provoked (Ref. 247). Utilized fresh and dried-salted for human consumption and also for fishmeal; livers processed for vitamins; fins dried for the oriental sharkfin trade; offal utilized for fishmeal (Ref. 247). Possibly reaching 354 cm TL (Ref. 9993, 47613). Caught in drift net intended for sharks (Ref. 47736). Reported from freshwater in the Philippines but needs to be confirmed (Ref. 43278).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Oviparous (Ref. 247). Egg cases are large, dark brown or purplish black, with longitudinal striations (Ref. 6871). Size at birth 20-26 cm TL (Ref. 9993).
Dahl, R.B., E.E. Sigsgaard, G. Mwangi, P.F. Thomsen, R.D. Jørgensen, F. de Oliveira Torquato, L. Olsen and P.R. Møller, 2019. The sandy zebra shark: A new color morph of the zebra shark Stegostoma tigrinum, with a redescription of the species and a revision of its nomenclature. Copeia, 107(3):524-541. (Ref. 125658)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 123251)
CITES (Ref. 123416)
Fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969
): 24.2 - 28.8, mean 27.6 (based on 956 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82804
= 1.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00389 (0.00180 - 0.00842), b=3.12 (2.94 - 3.30), in cm Total Length, based on all LWR estimates for this body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 3.1 ±0.4 se; based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (Fec assumed to be <100).
Fishing Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Very high vulnerability (90 of 100).