Great white shark

Great white shark
Temporal range:
White shark.jpg
Male off Isla Guadalupe, Mexico
Illustration showing a shark and a human diver. The shark is about three times longer than the human.
Size comparison with human
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Chondrichthyes
Order: Lamniformes
Family: Lamnidae
Genus: Carcharodon
A. Smith, 1838
C. carcharias
Binomial name
Carcharodon carcharias
Cypron-Range Carcharodon carcharias.svg
  Global range as of 2010
  • Squalus carcharias Linnaeus, 1758
  • Carharodon carcharias (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Squalus caninus Osbeck, 1765
  • Carcharias lamia Rafinesque, 1810
  • Carcharias verus Cloquet, 1817
  • Squalus vulgaris Richardson, 1836
  • Carcharias vulgaris (Richardson, 1836)
  • Carcharodon smithii Agassiz, 1838
  • Carcharodon smithi Bonaparte, 1838
  • Carcharodon rondeletii Müller & Henle, 1839
  • Carcharodon capensis Smith, 1839
  • Carcharias atwoodi Storer, 1848
  • Carcharias maso Morris, 1898
  • Carcharodon albimors Whitley, 1939

The great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), also known as the white shark, white pointer, or simply great white, is a species of large mackerel shark which can be found in the coastal surface waters of all the major oceans. It is notable for its size, with the largest preserved female specimen measuring 5.83 m (19.1 ft) in length and around 2,000 kg (4,410 lb) in weight at maturity.[3] However, most are smaller; males measure 3.4 to 4.0 m (11 to 13 ft), and females measure 4.6 to 4.9 m (15 to 16 ft) on average.[4][5] According to a 2014 study, the lifespan of great white sharks is estimated to be as long as 70 years or more, well above previous estimates,[6] making it one of the longest lived cartilaginous fishes currently known.[7] According to the same study, male great white sharks take 26 years to reach sexual maturity, while the females take 33 years to be ready to produce offspring.[8] Great white sharks can swim at speeds of 25 km/h (16 mph)[9] for short bursts and to depths of 1,200 m (3,900 ft).[10]

The great white shark is an apex predator, as it has no known natural predators other than, on very rare occasions, the orca.[11] It is arguably the world's largest-known extant macropredatory fish, and is one of the primary predators of marine mammals, up to the size of large baleen whales. This shark is also known to prey upon a variety of other marine animals, including fish, and seabirds. It is the only known surviving species of its genus Carcharodon, and is responsible for more recorded human bite incidents than any other shark.[12][13]

The species faces numerous ecological challenges which has resulted in international protection. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the great white shark as a vulnerable species,[1] and it is included in Appendix II of CITES.[14] It is also protected by several national governments, such as Australia (as of 2018).[15] Due to their need to travel long distances for seasonal migration and extremely demanding diet, it is not logistically feasible to keep great white sharks in captivity; because of this, while attempts have been made to do so in the past, there are no known aquariums in the world believed to house a live specimen.[16]

The novel Jaws by Peter Benchley and its subsequent film adaptation by Steven Spielberg depicted the great white shark as a ferocious man-eater. Humans are not a preferred prey of the great white shark,[17] but the great white is nevertheless responsible for the largest number of reported and identified fatal unprovoked shark attacks on humans, although this happens very rarely (typically fewer than 10 times a year globally).[18][19]

  1. ^ a b Rigby, C.L.; Barreto, R.; Carlson, J.; Fernando, D.; Fordham, S.; Francis, M.P.; Herman, K.; Jabado, R.W.; Liu, K.M.; Lowe, C.G.; Marshall, A.; Pacoureau, N.; Romanov, E.; Sherley, R.B.; Winker, H. (2019). "Carcharodon carcharias". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2019: e.T3855A2878674. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-3.RLTS.T3855A2878674.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. ^ "Great White Shark".
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference DMGO03 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  4. ^ Viegas, Jennifer. "Largest Great White Shark Don't Outweigh Whales, but They Hold Their Own". Discovery Channel. Archived from the original on 7 February 2010. Retrieved 19 January 2010.
  5. ^ Parrish, M. "How Big are Great White Sharks?". Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Ocean Portal. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  6. ^ "Carcharodon carcharias". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  7. ^ "New study finds extreme longevity in white sharks". Science Daily. 9 January 2014.
  8. ^ Ghose, Tia (19 February 2015). "Great White Sharks Are Late Bloomers".
  9. ^ Klimley, A. Peter; Le Boeuf, Burney J.; Cantara, Kelly M.; Richert, John E.; Davis, Scott F.; Van Sommeran, Sean; Kelly, John T. (19 March 2001). "The hunting strategy of white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) near a seal colony". Marine Biology. 138 (3): 617–636. doi:10.1007/s002270000489. ISSN 0025-3162. S2CID 85018712.
  10. ^ Thomas, Pete (5 April 2010). "Great white shark amazes scientists with 4,000-foot dive into abyss". GrindTV. Archived from the original on 17 August 2012.
  11. ^ Currents of Contrast: Life in Southern Africa's Two Oceans. Struik. 2005. pp. 31–. ISBN 978-1-77007-086-8.
  12. ^ Knickle, Craig. "Tiger Shark". Florida Museum of Natural History Ichthyology Department. Archived from the original on 7 July 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  13. ^ "ISAF Statistics on Attacking Species of Shark". Florida Museum of Natural History University of Florida. Archived from the original on 24 April 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2008.
  14. ^ "Carcharodon carcharias". UNEP-WCMC Species Database: CITES-Listed Species On the World Wide Web. Archived from the original on 16 June 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
  15. ^ Recovery Plan for the White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias) (Report). Government of Australia Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. 2013.
  16. ^ Cronin, Melissa (10 January 2016). "Here's Why We've Never Been Able to Tame the Great White Shark".
  17. ^ Hile, Jennifer (23 January 2004). "Great White Shark Attacks: Defanging the Myths". Marine Biology. National Geographic. Archived from the original on 26 April 2009. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  18. ^ "Species Implicated in Attacks". Florida Museum. 24 January 2018. Retrieved 6 February 2023.
  19. ^ rice, doyle. "2020 was an 'unusually deadly year' for shark attacks, with the most deaths since 2013". usa today.

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