Great White Shark

The great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) is a species of cartilaginous fish found in coastal and pelagic waters. The great white shark is the largest predatory fish capable of eating marine mammals that weight several hundred pounds. The only two fishes that grow larger than Great Whites are the whale shark and the basking shark, both filter feeders that eat plankton.

Reaching lengths of up to 20 feet (6 m) and weights of several tons, the great white’s body is perfectly adapted to a life of predation.

Great white sharks are known to be highly migratory, with individuals making long migrations every year. In the eastern Pacific Ocean, great whites regularly migrate between Mexico and Hawaii. In other ocean basins, individuals may migrate even longer distances. Like in many highly migratory species, the very largest individuals are female.

Great whites mate via internal fertilization and give live birth to a small number of large young (over three feet/one meter). Though they give live birth, great whites do not connect with their young through a placenta. Instead, during the gestation period, the mother provides her young with unfertilized eggs that they actively eat for nourishment. After they are born, young great whites are already natural predators, and they eat coastal fishes. As they grow, their preferred prey also gets larger, and the largest, mature individuals prefer to eat marine mammals, like seals and sea lions. Great whites are known to take very deep dives, probably to feed on slow-moving fishes and squids in the cold waters of the deep sea.

Though almost all fish are cold-blooded, great whites have a specialized blood vessel structure – called a countercurrent exchanger – that allows them to maintain a body temperature that is higher than the surrounding water.  This adaptation provides them with a major advantage when hunting in cold water by allowing them to move more quickly and intelligently.  It is also particularly advantageous when hunting warm-blooded marine mammals that might otherwise have too much energy for great whites to successfully capture them.

While great whites are one of the few species known to have bitten and killed people, these events are extremely rare.  According to Oceana, when a great white does bite a person, it only takes one exploratory bite and quickly realizes that the person is not its preferred prey.  Unfortunately due to their very large size, even an exploratory bite can be fatal or extremely traumatic.  People, on the other hand, capture too many great whites, through targeted fisheries or accidental catch in other fisheries, and scientists generally consider great whites to be vulnerable to extinction.



8 Comments Add yours

  1. svitkaus says:

    There is so much great information crammed into this one post! If I may make a suggestion, though, I would say to be careful about using a single word too many times in a sentence or in successive sentences


    1. Thanks! And thank you for the suggestion, I’ll try to be less repetitive in posts.


    2. svitkaus says:

      Such as migratory and migration in the beginning of the paragraph on migration. I like to reread my posts some time after initially writing them because I can have a fresh perspective on my words and can work out little ways to phrase things better and make my writing flow a bit more smoothly

      Liked by 2 people

  2. She says:

    Hi, found you on Novus’s Swimmers. Nice to meet you. Wow, love your site. The layout and pictures are excellent (highlighting a lot to be desired on my own site in terms of theme and layout–eek XD) This is so interesting and informative. Are you a marine Biologist? This is extremely well-written. I have followed and cannot wait to read more.Thank you fo sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! I am actually not a marine biologist but I have a huge passion for it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. She says:

        That is even more wonderful! Such a lovely blog. I am glad to have found you on here! Passions stoke the heart!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. kedawithani says:

    Quite informative…thanks for the lesson… 🙂 #teamgreatwhite…!

    Liked by 1 person

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