Great White Shark<<<< Back to marine animals
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Chondrichthyes
- Order: Lamniformes
- Suborder: Whippomorpha
- Family: Lamnidae
- Conservation status: Vulnerable
- Areal: Deep water Oceans
- Habitat: From tropics to polar circles
- Food: predator carnivore
- Length: 3.5 - 4m (5.6 - 31 ft)
- Weight: 680 - 1.100 kg
- Lifespan: 20 - 30 years
- Speed: 40 - 60km/h (in short bursts)
- Reproduction: 9 - 11 offsprings
The great white shark (carcharodon carcharias) is part of the Lamnidae family, Lamniformes order. It belongs to a family of very fast swimmers and is known as the largest carnivore on Earth after the whale. It is a fish that lives in large territories in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. It can be found from the tropics to the deep waters of the polar circles.
It is among the most famous and known shark species. It can be found in foreign or specialized literature under the names: white shark, great white, great white shark, white death, white sea dog (Australia), blue sea dog (Africa).
At the moment the number of shark species is declining and vulnerable to being endangered. In Brazil, Namibia, South Africa, California and Australia they issued laws to protect this species. A white shark tooth sells for $1000 in Australia and a full set of teeth $20000. The vast majority of sharks die in fishing nets of commercial vessels. Millions of sharks are hunted annually to satisfy snobs. No white shark lives in captivity more than one or two weeks.
A study in 2014 estimated the population of sharks on the California coast to 2400 specimens.
Food Great White Shark
The great white shark is a predator feared both by humans and its prey. It feeds with a lot of food because it is greedy. Food is made up of a wide variety of fish, other sharks, sea birds, turtles and mammals (seals, sea lions, otters, etc.).
The preffered method of attack is from behind. It comes with speed , biting the prey and provoking fatal wounds. Eventually it dies from the large loss of blood. The food is torn apart and swallowed in pieces. A sea lion or a seal can keep them fed for a month.
Aspect Great White Shark
The shark reaches at maturity a length of 6.5 meters and a weight of 2,500 kg. One reason it is known for is the impressive size. Its ancestors were three times larger, reaching over 8 meters, a weight of 3300 kg and 16cm long teeth. The mouth ends with several rows of teeth. When he loses a tooth because it is falling or losing it after biting on a boat, another tooth takes its place. The eyes are black.
It has five lateral gills for breathing. The body is dark gray on the back, and the belly is white. The mouth has around 3,000 teeth arranged on several rows. It uses the front rows when attacking. The last two rows replace the others in time when they fall, break or wear down. A shark changes up to 26,000 teeth in a lifetime. That is because they are not rooted by a bone plate or in alveoli, but are attached in a fibrous membrane.
Like many species of fish, sharks don’t have warm blood. They have a rich network of blood vessels, called the mirabilia network, located in the muscle that helps raise the body temperature to 10 degrees above the ambients temperature they’relocated in. The eyes are not very well developed, and are more used at day.
It has the capability to rotate the eyeball and is generally curious. Although prefers to swim during the day it can be met sometimes at night too. The eyes are protected by a very thick membrane. Scratches can be seen around the eyes, but not on the eyeball. The animal can see out of the water too. They say that sometimes takes his head out of the water to observe the surroundings.Instead, their smell is highly developed. Sharks can feel bloodfrom great distances.
It is said that a shark can sense a drop of blood from 7km(if favored by currents). Thanks to its highly developed senses it is called „nose that swims” or „ears that swim”. It has a *hearing system* that detects vibrations. With the help of his Lorenzini ampoules (small channels close to the nose) it can detect electrical frields emitted by the hearbeats. They say sharks have such sensitive organs that they know where north and south is.
It is said that due to their triangular fins, curved in the back and to his fusiform body , these marine monsters glide in the water like torpidoes. The symmetrical tail (unlike other sharks that have asymmetrical tail) is a rarity among sharks. *The most precious goods’ are the huge conical head and the mouth full of teeth.
Features Great White Shark
The great white shark can be easily identified by the white spots, size and shape of teeth. The shark uses its lower jaws teeth to hold prey and the upper jaws teeth (triangular in shape) to tear the prey. A shark of over 6 meters can bite with a force of 10,000 Newtons.
It is active at day. It is considered by man to be one of the most dangerous sharks because of its size, aggressive behaviour, the fact that it swims in shallow water in search for food and for his weapon (teeth).
Although it is considered one of the most dangerous sharks, it is not actually so. Many divers have said it is a curious but predictable fish. Those who had the opportuniti to see or study a great white shark, say it is the gentleman of the oceans. This fish inspires respect, not fear, but the world does not know that.
The white shark became popular with Steven Spielberg’s movie Jaws which appeared in 1975. Since then people tried to study it. It is an agile shark, intelligent and strong. A labeled specimen was chased for a distance of 19,000 km. The covered area was smaller. The shark descended to a depth of 900 meters. That means it has the capability to swim in different waters in terms of temperature.
The average speed is 30 km/h, but when chasing prey it can reach 60 km/h. It is a great effort and huge energy consumption if you think that this animal has over 2,000 kg. Let’s hope that people’s behavior will be positive in the future and that the scientists will be able to study the behavior of this unique and fascinating fish.
Tourism in cage diving is frequented in South Africa, southern Australia and California. These ways of observing sharks began to gain popularity.
The shark cleans the oceans of dying or diseased cretures. A population of sharks means also clean oceans and seas.
Reproduction Great White Shark
Little is known about shark mating. They can’t live in captivity, and the study in its natural environment is difficult. The mating season seems to happen in spring-summer. They say that the great white shark reproduces twice in its lifetime. Unlike many other fish speciesthat lay roe, sharks fertilization is internal.
Male sharks have two copulating organs called pterigopode that they use to transfer sperm into the female’s body. These organs are used in turns because the female has only one genital organ.
After gestation the female gives birth to 9-11 offsprings. The white sharks are ovoviviparous fish, the offsprings are born alive. The little one comes with a pair of teeth which helps it feed. The length at birth is about 1.4 meters. After birth they will have no contact with their mother. It is assumed that the shark would have the longest gestation period of all Earth’s creatures.
Researchers from the University of New South in Australia studied shark offsprings smaller that 3 meters and found that they avoid attacking bigger fish or seals because of their jaws and teeth, too weak for such large prey. It seems that the species has a body growth much faster than the natural strengthening of cartilage. This is why young sharks need to settle with small fish or prey in the first 15 years of life. Sexual maturity is reached at the age of 15.
Folowing an analysis, the maximum age attainable by a great white shark seems to be 72 years. Age assessment according to the vertebrae rings was attempted but this method is not very accurate because sharks have development stagnation periods. Life expectancy is 40-70 years.
Did you know that:
The great white shark has over 3,000 teeth. In a lifetime it changes more that 2,500 teeth.
It can smell blood from over 5km away.
It has a weight of 2-3 thousand kg and swims at a speed of 60 km/h.
Despite its reputation, it is a "gentleman of the oceans".