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Great White Shark

Carcharodon carcharias

They have a shading pattern called countershading, where the top of their body is dark and their bellies are white. This allows them to blend in with the darkness of the deep ocean when looking down upon them or allows them to use their white bellies to blend in with the sunlight waters near the surface for those looking up at the shark. This allows them to camouflage in the water no matter what depth they are at. White sharks are known as ram ventilators which means that they open their mouths to allow water to pass directly over their gills. They have large triangle shaped teeth that are serrated, allowing them to cut their food into chunks. They live in temperate and tropical waters of the world. They eat a wide range of food items such as marine mammals, birds, fish, invertebrates, etc.

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SPECIES IN DETAIL

Great White Shark

Carcharodon carcharias

CONSERVATION STATUS: Vulnerable

CLIMATE CHANGE: Vulnerable

Geographic Distribution

Known as cosmopolitan and their habitat ranges from 60°N latitude to 60°S latitude, found in all cold temperate/tropical coastal waters. Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans.

Habitat

Great white sharks are found in temperate and tropical coastal waters. They are a coastal and offshore shark which can be found in and around the continental and insular shelves. They have also been known to move into bays and even surf in search of food.

Physical Characteristics

They can reach a size of up to 6m (18 ft) (largest ever recorded) and over 6500 lbs. Females tend to be larger than the males. They are streamlined for reaching great speeds. They have a crescent shaped tail and paired dorsal/pectoral fins which helps propel them through the water.

Size

Females: typically up to 6m (18 ft) long. Males: typically up to 4m (12 ft) long. Most individuals of this species weight between 680 and 1,800 kg (1,500 and 4,000 lbs)

Diet

They are carnivorous and can eat a range of food including marine mammals, fish, and even birds.

Reproduction

Great white sharks are polygynandrous, meaning they have multiple partners and are ovoviviparous (aplacental viviparity), retaining an egg sac until the pup is born alive. Pups will eat other pups in the womb after the yolk sac is consumed.

Behavior

They are solitary but can be found in groups with some kind of hierarchy. They follow migratory routes and are active both during the day and at night.

Adaptation

Several adaptations including but not limited to the ampullae of lorenzini, their coloration, and its skin. The ampullae of lorenzini is an electroreceptor organ that helps pick up electrical signals in the water. Their countershading allows them to blend into any part of the water column either from above or below. Their skin is made of dermal denticles, or “skin teeth”, which help protect the shark from damage.

Longevity

They live about 30 years.

Conservation

They are listed by the IUCN red list as vulnerable. Steps are being taken to educate the public, especially fishermen, about the importance of these sharks. Laws that protect the sharks are also in effect to help ward off potential poachers.

Special Notes

Sharks like the white shark can roll their eyes back into their heads to protect them from injury when they go for a potential prey item.

SPECIES IN DETAIL | Print full entry

Great White Shark

Carcharodon carcharias

CONSERVATION STATUS: Vulnerable

CLIMATE CHANGE: Vulnerable

Known as cosmopolitan and their habitat ranges from 60°N latitude to 60°S latitude, found in all cold temperate/tropical coastal waters. Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans.

Great white sharks are found in temperate and tropical coastal waters. They are a coastal and offshore shark which can be found in and around the continental and insular shelves. They have also been known to move into bays and even surf in search of food.

They can reach a size of up to 6m (18 ft) (largest ever recorded) and over 6500 lbs. Females tend to be larger than the males. They are streamlined for reaching great speeds. They have a crescent shaped tail and paired dorsal/pectoral fins which helps propel them through the water.

Females: typically up to 6m (18 ft) long. Males: typically up to 4m (12 ft) long. Most individuals of this species weight between 680 and 1,800 kg (1,500 and 4,000 lbs)

They are carnivorous and can eat a range of food including marine mammals, fish, and even birds.

Great white sharks are polygynandrous, meaning they have multiple partners and are ovoviviparous (aplacental viviparity), retaining an egg sac until the pup is born alive. Pups will eat other pups in the womb after the yolk sac is consumed.

They are solitary but can be found in groups with some kind of hierarchy. They follow migratory routes and are active both during the day and at night.

Several adaptations including but not limited to the ampullae of lorenzini, their coloration, and its skin. The ampullae of lorenzini is an electroreceptor organ that helps pick up electrical signals in the water. Their countershading allows them to blend into any part of the water column either from above or below. Their skin is made of dermal denticles, or “skin teeth”, which help protect the shark from damage.

They live about 30 years.

They are listed by the IUCN red list as vulnerable. Steps are being taken to educate the public, especially fishermen, about the importance of these sharks. Laws that protect the sharks are also in effect to help ward off potential poachers.

Sharks like the white shark can roll their eyes back into their heads to protect them from injury when they go for a potential prey item.