Leopard Shark

Identity card

Leopard Shark

Scientific name:
Triakis semifasciata
Year of description:
Girard, 1855
IUCN Status:
Least Concern

Not evaluated


Western seaboard of North America, from Oregon to the Gulf of California (Mexico).


Leopard shark lives along the western coast of the North American continent. It can be found swimming in kelp forests.


They measure on average between 1 m and 1.3 m.


It feeds on small bony fishes and their eggs, cartilaginous fishes, crustaceans, molluscs and worms.


30 years

Conservation program:

The leopard shark is part of a MON-P, or European monitoring program in which Nausicaá participates.

Where can I find it at Nausicaá?


The californian tank

Leopard Shark
Leopard Shark

In 2021, the first baby leopard sharks were born in the center's aquarium reserves.

Leopard sharks are ovoviviparous, meaning their eggs hatch inside the female’s body. The female gives birth to between 4 and 36 juveniles about 20 cm long. The gestation period is around one year.

Leopard sharks give birth to their young in shallow waters, sometimes less than one metre deep. 

Birth of leopard sharks in Nausicaá

Did you know?

They are not regarded as dangerous to humans. They rarely bite and then only if they feel threatened.

Where is the animal to be found?

The leopard shark lives along the western coast of the North American continent. It can be found swimming in kelp forests.

The leopard shark lives on sandy, rocky bottoms and in kelp forests in cold temperate waters, to depths of around 100 metres.

How can it be recognised?

They measure on average between 1 m and 1.3 m. They are often confused with the zebra shark.

What is distinctive about it?

Like all sharks, leopard sharks have a sixth sense: electroreceptors that can detect weak electrical fields emitted by their prey.

The leopard shark is aplacental viviparous (previously called ovoviviparous); this means that the eggs hatch inside the female's abdomen. It gives birth to 4 to 30 juveniles measuring about 20 cm. The gestation period is approximately one year.

Threat and protective measure

The Leopard shark is part of a MON-P, or monitoring program in which Nausicaa is involved. It is a European conservation programme that monitors the populations of animals in institutions that are members of EAZA, the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

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