July 18, 2012
Georgia Aquarium Zebra Shark Produces Eggs
Baby alert! Our zebra shark and Ocean Voyager resident, Blank, has produced a group of fertile eggs. Earlier reproduction between Blank and one of the male zebra sharks gave rise to a 10 inch, 2.3 ounce zebra pup that is currently residing in the Pacific Barrier Reef habitat and has doubled in weight in just three months! Recently, more zebra shark eggs were moved to the Pacific Barrier Reef lagoon to be monitored for development before hatching. The eggs, about the size of the palm of your hand, will hatch into 10-inch long, black and white striped pups after a four to six month gestation period.
While some sharks are live-bearers, meaning their offspring are born fully developed, the zebra shark lays eggs. It gets its name because when they hatch from the eggs, the young have black and white stripes as seen above. However as the animal grows, the stripes gradually break up into spots. Thus, this same species is called a leopard shark in Australia.
Zebra sharks reside in both the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans and are known to live at depths of 200 feet. Zebra sharks have the ability to fit into small crevices and holes in reefs but unlike other sharks eat mostly invertebrates such as snails, shrimp, crabs and other animals. Our zebra sharks remain in the Ocean Voyager gallery, and with this species listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list, breeding work done at Georgia Aquarium is an important contribution to zebra shark conservation.
Written by Stephanie Sorensen, Digital Media Team.