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From the Shore to the Deep Blue Sea

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Gray Smoothhound
Leopard Shark
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Shark School

Leopard Shark
(Triakis semifasciata)

Leopard Shark.  Copyright 1998 Mark Conlin.

The leopard shark lives in bay environments, near the shore, and sometimes in the open ocean. It is long (up to seven feet), slender, and silver or brown with black saddles across its back and black blotches along its sides. It can be seen during the day, most of the year. During the summer months -- June, July and August -- leopard sharks gather together in the shallow water off the coast of San Diego.

This shark feeds on benthic (bottom-dwelling) prey such as worms, clams, crabs, shrimp, octopus, and small fish. It has small, pointed teeth which it uses to capture its prey.

The leopard shark is ovoviviparous. This means the female gives birth to live young that have developed from eggs hatched inside her body. The young are usually born in spring. This shark is not considered dangerous to people, though any animal will bite if bothered. The leopard shark is also called a cat shark.

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Photograph © Mark Conlin

Shark School | Kids' Habitat

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