Great White Shark – Carcharodon carcharias

Great white shark Carcharodon carcharias Canary Islands Sharks Canaries Atlantic scuba diving species Lanzarote Tenerife Gran Canaria FuerteventuraThe Great White Shark, also known as the White Shark, the Great White or White Pointer (I have never heard of it, but the internet says so), is a species in the family of Lamnidae and thus belongs to the subclass of the Elasmobranchii. Carcharodon carcharias was first described by Linnaeus in 1758 and is the only species in its genus.

On the list of endangered species of IUCN*, it is classified as endangered, as are so many of his relatives.

In the article Sharks in the Canary Islands you will find more species and information about the top hunters of the seas.

Description, Features & Anatomy

As already mentioned, the Great White Shark is the top hunter of the oceans and seas. Its spindle-shaped body allows it to glide elegantly without great resistance to water. It can become up to 7m long, whereby the females become clearly longer than the males.

Carcharodon carcharias back and flanks are grey and separated from the white belly by an irregular line. Sometimes the grey area is also bluish to black or has a copper shimmer.

The eyes of the Great White Shark are comparatively small and completely black, so that no pupil is visible.

Its mouth is long and wide. Carcharodon carcharias has a jaw with several rows of teeth, i.e. the teeth stand in several rows and are replicated throughout their entire life. If teeth of the active row fail, they are reloaded like in a revolver. The teeth themselves are triangular with sawn edges and grow several centimetres in size.

Habitat, Distribution & Occurrence

The Great White Shark lives near the coast as well as in the open water. It can be observed at the surface of the water, but it can also reach depths of over 1000m.

You don’t see it scuba diving on the Canary Islands! There are White Sharks in the region, but they only pass the Canary Islands. After intensive research I am not aware of any report that any of these animals have ever been seen near the coast.

The range of Carcharodon carcharias is larger than one would guess. It can be found in all oceans worldwide and even penetrates some seas. Only recently the report went through the media that a Great White Shark was seen in the Mediterranean Sea, on the coast of Majorca (source*).

Carcharodon carcharias distmap 2.png
Von Me – own Work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Based on genetic investigations it is assumed that the females are loyal to a site, while the males travel bis distances to secure the genetic diversity.

Biology & Feeding

Carcharodon carcharias is a loner or occurs in pairs. At certain events, larger groups of animals also come together.

The food spectrum of the Great White Shark is wide. In addition to crustaceans, cephalopods and other molluscs, turtles and bony fish, other shark species, rays, seals and even whales are also on the menu.

Documentaries about the Great White Shark

White Shark outside the cage

Expedition Great White – Big Mama

Dr. Michael Domeier will wissen wo die Räuber ihre Jungen zu Welt bringen. Dabei folgt er einem bestimmten Weibchen über weite Strecken. Zudem geht es um Das Fortpflanzungsverhalten von Zitronen-und Tigerhaien.

Sources & Links


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