Get to Know the Great White Shark
Hey Sharks Lovers!
I hope you all had a FINtastic holiday with some much needed relaxation.
Due to all the recent media attention attained by Ocean Ramsey and her team at OneOcean I wanted to take the time to do a Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias) profile!
General Info & Conversation Status:
White sharks are found all throughout the world’s oceans, but mostly in temperate waters around the coasts with high biodiversity. White sharks are a highly migratory species and can travel great distances. Oceana has even stated that white sharks in the eastern Pacific Ocean migrate between Mexico and Hawaii.
White sharks are listed as “vulnerable” by the IUCN. Some of the threats white sharks face include: shark finning, poaching (hunted for teeth), trophy fishing, bycatch from commercial fisheries, and entanglement from ghost fishing gear and beach netting.
White sharks are the largest predatory fish in the world, with a diet consisting of mainly of sea turtles, seals, sea lions, dolphins, porpoises, and small whales. White sharks are ambush predators. Ambush predators are dubbed as “sit and wait” strategists due to their patience, stealth and speed. These predators launch surprise attacks which usually consist one fatal bite. This one bite is so deadly due to the white shark’s 300 sharp teeth which are arranged in seven rows. Another reason they such successful hunters is their streamlined body and crescent-shaped tail which can propel them through the water at 60km per hour. White sharks are also opportunistic feeders, scavenging on whale carcasses, as seen in Ocean Ramsey’s recent videos.
Cool info you might not know:
Fertilization & Birth: White sharks mate through internal fertilization and give birth to a few large pups which are around three feet. The process by which white sharks give birth is called ovoviviparity. This means that shark grows inside an egg in the mother’s body. The embryos feed on unfertilized eggs, which is a practice known as oophagy. The egg then hatches inside the mother and the shark is born. Sharks give birth to usually two to ten pups per litter, however litters of up to seventeen pups have been documented. The gestation period is estimated to be around 12 to 18 months, but scientists aren’t exactly sure.
Body Heat: Although most fish are cold blooded or ectotherms, white sharks actually have a complex circulatory system that conserves heat which is generated through the contraction of swimming muscles. This is called counter-current exchange and allows these sharks to hunt in colder waters.
- Their scientific name, Carcharodon carcharias, means “ragged tooth.”
- White sharks have a large, oily liver that can weigh up to 24% of its entire body weight.
- Scientists have stated that a white shark can survive off one large meal for up to three months.
- They can grow to over 20 feet long and weigh over 2.5 tons.
Written By: Nikki Tenaglia