The Natural History of the Great White Shark
(GREAT) WHITE SHARK: Kingdom- Animalia, Phylum- Vertebrata, Class- Chondrichthyes, Order – Lamniformes, Family – Lamnidae, Genus – Carcharodon, Species – carcharias [Martins & Knickle 2010] The great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, which is also known as the white shark and white pointer, has, been one of the most feared creatures on earth, they are viewed as killing machines that will stop at nothing, this stereotype of Carcharodon carcharias is greatly influenced by the movie Jaws. While this is a common perception of white sharks, some daring explorers have not only free-dived with these feared creatures; they lived to talk about it. Not that diving with great white sharks is something that most people dream of doing nor is it recommended, but these bold experiments have shown that these fascinating, however intimidating, creatures are not predators of man. [Parker 1999] The great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, is the largest known predatory fish in the sea. They reach lengths of over 21 feet long and weigh up to 2,268 kg. They have a pointed snout, pitch black eyes, a heavy, torpedo-shaped body, and a curved, nearly equal-lobed tail fin that is supported on each side by a keel. The great white swims in a stiff-bodied, tuna-like fashion, unlike the twisting whole-bodied swimming stroke of most sharks. The name "white shark" is thought to have come from its common all-white belly. The dorsal coloring of great white sharks, ranges from pale to dark gray and can vary extremely depending on lighting, water color and visibility. [Martins & Knickle 2010] The great white's average length is around 9 feet, but there have been reports of sharks as large as 26 feet. The great white belongs to the Family Lamnidae, which includes Mako and Salmon Sharks. Along the California coastline, adult great whites are an important predator of marine mammals, particularly the fatty calorie-rich elephant seals. Young...
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