White shark, (Carcharodon carcharias), also called great white shark or white pointer, any member of the largest living species of the mackerel sharks (Lamnidae) and one of the most powerful and dangerous predatory sharks in the world. Starring as the villain of movies such as Jaws (1975), the white shark is much maligned and publicly feared. However, surprisingly little is understood of its life and behaviour.
While the shark in Jaws was inspired by a great white shark in New Jersey, the legendary fish is far less fearsome in reality. As scientific research on these elusive predators increases, their image as mindless killing machines is beginning to fade.
Great white sharks are blue-gray on the dorsal, or top, part of their bodies. This helps them blend in with the bottom of the ocean when viewed from above. The belly, or ventral, part of the body, is white. This makes it difficult to see the sharks from below, with sunlight shining in around them. They have strong, torpedo-shaped bodies and powerful tails that help them swim. Great whites can reach speeds up to 24 km/hr (15 mph).
Body Structure Of A Great White Shark
White sharks are large bulky fishes with a body shaped like a blunt torpedo. They have a sharply pointed conical snout, large pectoral and dorsal fins, and a strong crescent-shaped tail. Only the belly of white sharks is whitish. They have a contrasting pattern of dark blue, gray, or brown on their back and sides. They are amazing hunters armed with strong muscles, good eyesight, and a keen sense of smell. In addition, their massive jaws are armed with large sharply pointed, coarsely serrated teeth. Each tooth is designed to cut flesh and can easily puncture and shatter bone. The largest fully grown white sharks do not exceed 6.4 metres (21 feet) in length. Most weigh between 680 and 1,800 kg (1,500 and 4,000 pounds), but some weighing more than 2,270 kg (about 5,000 pounds) have been documented.
Social Behaviour Of A Great White Shark
Little is known about the social behaviour and natural history of the white shark. There appears to be no apparent social structure; however, there is evidence that some sharks may be territorial and assume dominance hierarchies around feeding areas. White sharks are largely solitary, but some pairs have been seen to travel together and associate for long periods of time. Some individuals may reside within feeding areas throughout the year, whereas other individuals may leave the feeding area and migrate widely. For example, some white sharks off California have been tracked to Hawaii, and some South African white sharks have been tracked to southern Australia and back.
How Big are Great White Sharks?
Imagine an adult person – now triple that size. That’s the size of the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias). The biggest great white sharks can reach up to 20 feet long, but most are smaller. The average female is 15-16 feet long, while males reach 11-13 feet. More about the great white shark can be found in our great white shark overview.
Take the size of an adult person and multiply it ten times, and you get the Giant Megatooth (Carcharocles megalodon) about the size and weight of a railroad car.
How Much Does A Great White Shark Weigh?
The weight of the largest known great white shark ever recorded in history is at least 2,730 pounds. However, there may be a possibility of an even bigger great white that can weigh as much as 5,070 pounds but it is yet to be confirmed. In 1986, a female white shark was caught off Pt. Vincente in California. It had a weight of around 4,140 pounds.
The average weight of a male white shark ranges from 1,150 to 1,700 pounds while the female great whites are heavier and weigh around 1,500 to 2,450 pounds.
What Is The Heaviest Great White Shark Ever Recorded?
The International Game Fish Association (IGFA), recognizes the largest Great White, as the one caught in 1959, by Alf Dean in Australian waters, weighing 1208 kg (2663 lb).
How Much Does A Normal Great White Shark Weigh?
Most weigh between 680 and 1,800 kg (1,500 and 4,000 pounds), but some weighing more than 2,270 kg (about 5,000 pounds) have been documented. White sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) have a sharply pointed conical snout, large pectoral and dorsal fins, and a strong crescent-shaped tail.
How Much Does A 20 Great White Shark Weigh?
Adult great white sharks grow to a maximum size of approximately 20 feet in length, weigh up to 6,600 pounds, and are estimated to live for 30 years.
How Big Was A Megalodon?
Estimates suggest it grew to between 15 and 18 metres in length, three times longer than the largest recorded great white shark. Without a complete megalodon skeleton, these figures are based on the size of the animal’s teeth, which can reach 18 centimetres long.
Is A Tiger Shark Bigger Than A Great White?
Tiger Sharks average around 10–14 feet and max out at just over 18 feet. Fully-grown White Sharks (their official name) often reach around 16 feet. … Great Whites have a much heavier build than Tiger Sharks. A White Shark will generally weigh more than a Tiger Shark of the same size.
Is Deep Blue Still Alive?
This massive great white shark is said to be around 50 years old. Many researchers say that she will continue to grow in size over time, though at a much slower pace than before. … As with most female great whites and Great White Sharks in general, Deep Blue has an estimated life expectancy of around 70 years.
Is A Whale Shark Bigger Than A Great White?
Sharks come in all sizes. The largest is the whale shark, which has been known to get as large as 18 meters (60 feet). … And the great white shark is somewhere in the middle. See photos and learn more about the wide diversity of sharks, read 5 reasons to revere sharks, and see even more articles about sharks.
What Is The Weakest Shark?
The leopard shark is the first on our list of least dangerous shark species to be utterly harmless to humans. There has not been a single report of a human being bitten by a leopard shark.
What Is The Biggest Shark Alive Today?
The biggest known predatory species, the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), grows to only about 20 feet (6 m) long, and the filter-feeding whale shark (Rhincodon typus), the biggest fish species alive today, measures about 18 to 33 feet (6 to 10 m) from nose to tail tip, on average.
What Is Stronger Than A Shark?
In the ocean, both the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) and the killer whale or orca (Orcinus orca) are fearsome top predators. But of the two massive animals, the killer whale may be the more formidable one, a new study has found.
Population And Conservation
There is no reliable population data for the great white shark, but scientists agree that their number are decreasing precipitously. Overfishing and getting accidentally caught in fishing nets are their two biggest threats. The species is classified as vulnerable—one step away from endangered—by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.