Common Name: Zebra Shark
Distribution: Common in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Distributed throughout the Indo-West Pacific region, from the Red Sea and East Africa to New Caledonia, north to southern Japan, south to New South Wales. In Australia recorded from Exmouth in Western Australia, across the tropical north to the Gulf of Carpentaria, Torres Strait south to Sydney in New South Wales.
Ecological Notes: Frequents sand and rubble bottoms in rocky and coral reef areas. Depth to 90 m, usually shallower to 30 m.
Additional Notes: Distinctive bottom dwelling shark with reticulate pattern of spots on body, very elongate top lobe of tail and twin pairs of parallel ridges on either side of the body. Common in the Solitary Islands Marine Park during periods of warmer water temperatures. See video here courtesy of Tom Mair https://youtu.be/ky9gC1-8H3s
Sluggish and sometimes easy to approach, believed to be mainly nocturnal. Feeds on molluscs, crustaceans, small bony fishes and sea snakes. May bite when provoked. Oviparous, egg cases are large, dark brown to black. Young are 20-26 cm at birth, adults up to 3.5 m.
References: R. Stuart-Smith, G. Edgar, A. Green, I. Shaw, Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland Publishers, 2015. p.19.
FishBase. Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2018. World Wide Web electronic publication. https://fishbase.ca/summary/Stegostoma-fasciatum.html. Accessed 01/10/2018.