Sub-Phylum: Vertebrata (vertebrates)
Class: Chrondrichthyes (cartilaginous fish)
Sub-Class: Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays)
Species: C. carcharias
Extremely Large Shark, torpedo shaped body
with silver to blue-grey top color and white underside
with a pointed snout. Standard Dorsal fin (top), pectoral
fins (bottom - front and rear) and Caudal fin (crescent
shaped tail). Great Whites have two additional small pelvic
fins. It is these fins that propel and guide them through
the water in almost a streamlined motion like that of an
airplane. Skeletal composition of cartilage. Great White
Sharks have five gill slits. CLICK HERE
TO SEE ANIMAL WEBCAMS
Great Whites have teeth in rows with over
3,000 arranged in several rows. Great White Shark teeth
are triangularly shaped, saw-like and serrated on the edges.
These teeth rotate into position as needed to replace worn
or damaged teeth and average 3 inches in length.
Cool shallow waters and temperate coastlines from
California to Alaska, the East Coast of the U.S., most
of the U.S. Gulf Coast, Hawaii, Mediterranean Sea, South
America, South & West Africa, New Zealand & Australia
(except the north coast), to Scandinavia, Japan, and the
eastern coastline of China to Russia.
Inhabits all ocean waters, frequenting both
deep and coastal waterways, particularly Islands with
high populations of Pinnipeds (Seals
, Elephant Seals
and Sea Lions). Great Whites frequent temperate coastlines
but occasionally make deep water dives. Great Whites
are found in water as shallow as three feet deep, and
as deep as 4,200 feet.
3,000-5,000 lbs average, recorded specimens
documented at 7,000 lbs.
10-15 feet average, recorded specimens
reaching 19-21 feet.
Pinnipeds (Seals, Elephant Seals, Sea Lions), other
fish, dolphins, Otters, sea turtles, sharks, squid, small
toothed whales like Beluga Whales, Killer Whales & other
whale carcasses & carrion.
Variable mating season with gestation
up to 1 year. Pups may be 5 ft in length at birth. Great
White Shark pups immediately swim away from their mother
at birth so there is no maternal care-giving.
The Great White reaches maturity about 6 1/2
- 7 years after birth. Sexually mature at 9 years of age.
As with mammals, females are fertilized
internally. However, instead of a penis, the male uses
a pair of erective claspers on the inner edge of the pelvic
fin. These claspers often have spurs, like the penis of
a Tiger, for holding on and forcing seminal fluid into
the female oviduct. The Great White Shark may have litters
of up to 7-9 pups. Extremely low reproduction rate with
females normally only reproducing twice in her whole lifetime.
The growth rate of the Great White shark is about 25-30
cm per year. Females tend to travel to warmer waters to
Average 40 to 60 years but may live up to 100
Apex Predator (No natural predators) except
Solitary, except when mating but have
been observed traveling together.
Exact numbers are unknown, but population
is known to be in steady decline.
Threatened in Australia since 1997.
Great White Sharks are currently listed on Cites Appendix
II. Also, in July 2004 the Australian Environmental Ministry
increased the protected area of the Great Barrier Reef
from 4.5% to 33% making it the largest sea reserve in the
world - great news for protecting one of the habitats of
the Great White Shark.
Sports Trophy Hunters, over-fishing,
trawler nets, commercial longliners. Other threats include
entanglement in fishing gear and environmental contaminants
Some of the most dangerous Sharks in
the World known to attack man are the Great White Shark,
Tiger Shark, Bull Shark, Blacktip Shark, and Hammerhead