ANIMAL: Leopard Shark Triakis semifasciata Type of Animal: Houndshark Habitat: Temperate to tropical waters-coastal waters, bays, sandy bottom areas, estuaries, kelp forest/forest bottoms, littoral waters, sand/mud flats, rocky bottoms near kelp beds, kelp beds, rocky reefs/reef bottoms, gulfs, open coasts, intertidal zones, areas of warm effluent from power plants, open ocean, not found deeper than 300 ft, Location(s): Pacific coast of N America from Oregon to Baja California Appearance: Moderately stout but fairly slender shark w/ short round snout/flattened head, large oval eyes, dark spots/saddles along back w/ bronze-gray to silvery background, whitish plain underside, adults have more spots/saddles than juveniles, long tapered tail, 2 dorsal fins w/ larger one at midpoint & 2nd one near anal fin, older sharks have paler spot interiors Food/Diet: Clams, shrimp, crabs, octopus, bony fish, fish eggs, marine worms, lobsters, rays, small guitarfish, smaller sharks (occasionally adults eat juveniles) Status in Wild: Stable Conservation: Breeding in aquariums, marine parks, & zoos. Prohibition of gillnets in California waters shallower than 360 ft. Lifestyle: Schools of 50-100. Juveniles often form own schools. Additional Info: Called: Male Female Young: Pup Group: School Weight: Male: 35-40 lbs Female: 25-30 lbs Young: 5 lbs Gestation: 8-12 months Life Span: 20-30 years Body Length: Male: 3.9 ft Female: 4.9 ft Young: 1 ft Tail Length: Male: 1.3 ft Female: 1.63 ft Young: 0.3 ft Main predators of adults are sevengill sharks, great white sharks, Steller sea lions, & orcas. Variety of marine mammals as well as adult leopard sharks prey on young. Eggs hatch internally (ovoviviparous), resulting in 1-36 live pups being born. Females often mate right after pups born. Often seen schooling w/ other smaller shark species as well as bat rays. Males sexually mature at 7 years old, females at 10 years old. Can travel 1.24 miles to find food. They have great senses of sight & smell. Use suction to grab prey, clenching jaw down & capturing prey between teeth. Coloration aids in camouflage. Warmer water observed to accelerate embryonic development in this species. Fun Fact(s): Remains widely found in American Indian middens in California. Using ampullae of Lorenzini near snout, they can detect electromagnetic waves up to 3 ft away, detecting prey hiding under sand or camouflaging itself. Attacks on humans extremely rare w/ these sharks being very docile & often flighty & shy. Fairly friendly in captivity. 1 attack in 1955 occurred due to spear fisher catching fish, w/ blood smell attracting shark. Like all sharks, they lack swim bladders, instead storing oil in massive livers to counterbalance own weight. People can snorkel w/ these sharks during summer in La Jolla, where biggest schools found in breeding season.