Leopard Sharks are called the sea’s leopards. Between Oregon and the Gulf of California, a small stretch of the Pacific Ocean’s ocean and inlet zones is home to leopard sharks. They are among the shark species that are most frequently encountered in California. Named for their remarkable appearance, these sharks have all-silver or all-grey bodies with dark, saddle-shaped splotches covering the fins and upper body. During the hot summer months, plenty of leopard sharks migrate to San Diego, and most have been seen to be pregnant females. They take advantage of the Matlahuayl State Marine Reserve near La Jolla, California, where the waters are warm, protected, and shallow.
Leopard sharks are bony but flexible. There are numerous traits that sharks and fish share in common. Their skeleton is one feature that distinguishes them from the majority of fish species. The majority of fish fall within the Osteichthyes Class, which has hard bones similar to our own. The skeleton of sharks, rays, and skates, which are members of the Chondrichthyes class and share this characteristic with human ears and noses, is comprised of cartilage.
Leopard sharks generally swim close to the bottom and are most abundant from the intertidal zone to a depth of 4 m (13 ft), though they may be found as deep as 91 m (299 ft). Leopard sharks lack the swim bladder, an organ that resembles a sac that fish use to regulate their buoyancy. Instead, to balance their own weight, they store oil in their enormous livers. When they are not swimming, they normally continue to be slightly less buoyant than the water around them, which causes them to sink.
Leopard sharks have seventh and eighth senses. The five senses that distinguish humans from sharks are sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. The lateral line, a sixth sense shared by all fish, can detect changes in water pressure. Sharks have a seventh sense termed the ampullae de Lorenzini, which is situated near the snout and can detect electromagnetic fields that are emitted nearby by all living things. Sharks have a three-foot detection range for these electromagnetic waves, which is just enough to catch a meal that may be hidden under the sand or masquerading as a rock or plant.
No deadly leopard shark attacks on people have been documented. In reality, very few leopard shark “attacks” have ever been documented. These assaults can just include a shark running into a person. Leopard sharks are occasionally caught, nevertheless, for human consumption. Leopard sharks have a slow growth rate, a late maturity, and poor reproductive output, which can quickly lead to a population fall if too many are caught. Leopard sharks should not be regularly consumed due to high mercury levels in their flesh, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s cautions.
Between Oregon and the Gulf of California, Mexico, on the west coast of North America, leopard sharks are frequently observed in bays and estuaries with muddy or sandy bottoms.
Their mouths open downward and are situated on the flat bottom of their skulls, making eating simple. They have flat rows of teeth that are more effective at shattering than cutting. These carnivorous sharks employ suction to capture crabs, fish eggs, clam siphons, and burrowing worms as they patrol the sandy surface. Leopard sharks start consuming more fish and fewer crabs as they get older. They have even been discovered with rays, octopus, and other sharks in their guts.
Leopard sharks can get rather big, typically reaching lengths of 4 to 7 feet (1.2 to 2 meters), with females being slightly longer. When you live in huge, nomadic schools, their length and thinness are advantageous. They have short, rounded snouts and flattened heads.
Similar to how humans give birth, leopard sharks also give birth to live young, known as pups. Leopard shark mothers hatch their eggs internally, unlike most fish. She gives birth to a few dozen (up to 33) puppies that are each 8 to 9 inches (0.20 to 0.23 meters) long after 10 to 12 months. Ovoviviparous is the name given to this method of reproduction. Ovoviviparous mothers have fewer offspring than mothers who lay eggs externally, but their young have a significantly higher chance of surviving, therefore this tactic has its drawbacks. Leopard shark females mature enough to reproduce at around age 10. (when they are 3 to 3.5 feet long).
On the Red List of Threatened Species maintained by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, leopard sharks are now categorized as a species of Least Concern.
They can become by-catch in commercial fisheries or are occasionally taken by recreational fishermen because of their close proximity to the shore. Sharks are generally under a lot of threat. Because of pressure from human activity, their habitats and food supplies are disappearing, and they are poached for their fins, which are eaten as a “delicacy.”