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What Do You Know About Great White Sharks?

Great White Shark

By Terry Goss, CC BY 2.5,

A member of the biggest surviving mackerel sharks and one of the most dangerous and deadly predatory sharks globally, the white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), commonly known as a great white shark.

1. Distribution

White shark populations are repeatedly detected off the coasts of the northeastern or western United States, northern Japan, Chile, southern Australia, southern Africa, New Zealand, and the Mediterranean, where highly efficient temperate coastal waters. Although some white sharks migrate far out to sea or even into tropical seas, field studies indicate that most of them return to such temperate feeding grounds each year.

2. Body structure

White sharks are big, robust fish with the blunt torpedo-shaped body. They feature a powerful crescent-shaped tail, massive pectoral & dorsal fins, and a highly pointed conical head. White sharks have just a whitish belly. On the back and sides, they feature a gray, dark blue, or brown contrasting design. They are incredible hunters with powerful muscles, excellent vision, and a great sense of smell. They also have enormous, highly pointed, extensively serrated teeth in their gigantic jaws. Each tooth is designed to slash flesh and can pierce and break bone with ease. White sharks may not grow to be more than 6.4 meters (21 feet) long when fully mature. The majority weigh between 680 to 1,800 kg, although some have been recorded reaching more than 2,270 kg (approximately 5,000 pounds).

3. Feeding habits

White sharks that are still in their infancy eat fish and other sharks. Sea turtles, seals, porpoises, sea lions, dolphins, even small whales are among their prey as they reach maturity. Prey is typically pursued via ambush, in which the shark tries to catch the prey off guard and deliver a huge lethal bite. This initial surge is sometimes so powerful that it knocks the prey out from the water or propels the shark into the air if it fails the objective. This type of assault is known as bite and spit and bite and wait because the sharks will retreat and wait for the victim to die fast.

4. Social behavior

The white shark's social behavior and natural history are poorly understood. Although there is no obvious social structure, there is an indication that certain sharks are territorial and form dominance hierarchies surrounding feeding sites. Although white sharks are mostly solitary, several couples have traveled together and interacted for extended periods. Some individuals may spend the whole year in feeding regions, while others may abandon the feeding area and travel extensively. Other white sharks off the coast of California have been traced to Hawaii, while some white sharks off the coast of South Africa have been tracked to southern Australia.

5. Reproduction

White shark mating has yet to be completely recorded, although it is thought to be comparable to internal fertilization in several sharks, in which the male puts his claspers into the female's cloaca. If there is any courtship behavior, it is unknown. Female white sharks achieve sexual maturity at 4.5 to 5 meters (approximately 15 to 16 feet) in length and 12-18 years of age, while male white sharks reach puberty around 3.5 to 4 meters in length and about 10 years of age.


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