Leopard shark (Triakis semifasciata)
Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.
Class: Chondrichthyes - cartilaginous fishes (sharks, rays, skates, and chimeras)
Subclass: Elasmobranchii - elasmobranchs (sharks, rays, skates)
Order: Carcharhiniformes - ground sharks
Family: Triakidae - houndsharks, smoothhound sharks, smooth dogfish sharks, gummy sharks, tope sharks, whiskery sharks
Genus: Triakis - leopard and houndsharks
Species: Triakis semifasciata - leopard shark
Maximum Total Length, TL
|Distribution & Status||Behavior & Ecology|
Populations in the Wild
|Reproduction & Development||Species Highlights|
Spotted gully shark
© 2017-2020 San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. IUCN Status updated Nov 2020.
How to cite: Leopard Shark (Triakis semifasciata) and Spotted Gully Shark (T. megalopterus) Fact Sheet. c2017-2020. San Diego (CA): San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance; [accessed YYYY Mmm dd]. http://ielc.libguides.com/sdzg/factsheets/ triakissharks.
(note: replace YYYY Mmm dd with date accessed, e.g., 2015 Sep 10)
Disclaimer: Although San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance makes every attempt to provide accurate information, some of the facts provided may become outdated or replaced by new research findings. Questions and comments may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abbreviations used in this fact sheet:
Total Length (TL): length from the tip of a fish's snout to the tip of its longer tail lobe
We wish to thank Dr. Andrew P. Nosal, PhD, for providing expert content review of this fact sheet.
Dr. Nosal completed his PhD on leopard shark movement ecology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 2013. This research provided many insights into the behavior, habitat preferences, diet, physiology, and genetic relationships of leopard sharks near La Jolla, California.
As of 2017, Dr. Nosal is Professor at University of San Diego and concurrently conducts research at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. This research focuses on the movement ecology of sharks and rays in southern California and Baja California. Dr. Nosal also holds interests in science communication and public attitudes towards sharks. He is a member of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group for the Northeast Pacific Region. Read more at andrewnosal.com.
Thank you to Melissa Torres, who shared her knowledge of leopard shark husbandry for the Managed Care section of this fact sheet.
Ms. Torres, Dive Program Coordinator and Aquarist at Birch Aquarium at Scripps, is the lead aquarist of ElasmoBeach, an exhibit that houses half of Birch Aquarium's leopard shark population. Ms. Torres leads animal care efforts for these leopard sharks, including health physicals and nutrition programs. She also coordinates and participates in diving activities to monitor the sharks’ behavior, health, and exhibit environment.