The great white shark is a threatened species and it is listed as vulnerable. It is in the Lamnidae family with the genus Carcharodon, species Carcharodon Carcharias. Carcharodon comes from Greek words which means sharp or jagged tooth.
The great white shark is also known as White Pointer, Great White and White Shark. This species of large mackerel shark can be found in all the major oceans. Great whites average at 3.5 meters but can grow up to 6 meters. Males tend to be smaller than females. The lifespan of great white sharks is estimated at 70 years. Females take up to 33 years before they are ready to reproduce and males take 26 years to reach sexual maturity. These sharks can swim to a depth of 1200 meters and reach a speed of over 56 km/h.
More about Great White Sharks
The only known predator to the great white shark is the occasional killer whale. The great white is a primary apex predator of marine mammals.Prey includes seabirds, seals and fish. It is also the shark species with the most recorded human bite incidents.
The Peter Benchley novel and the movie Jaws has gripped the human race in fear of the great white shark. Jaws depict this shark as a ferocious man-eater. The truth is that humans are not the preferred food of this shark. It is still however responsible for the largest number of unprovoked attacks and fatalities on humans.
With the earliest great white shark fossils from 16 million years ago, it is thought that this species is a descendant of the prehistoric Megalodon shark. The teeth of these sharks are very similar to the great white however it is much larger. Megalodon shark fossil teeth the size of a human hand is not uncommon. A new hypothesis suggests that great white sharks and megalodon sharks are rather distant relatives.
Great white sharks prefer water temperatures of between 12 and 24 degrees Celsius. Larger concentrations of sharks can be found in South Africa, America and Australia of which Shark Alley near Cape Town, South Africa is considered the Capital of the great white shark. A great white that was tagged in South Africa, swam to Australia’s north-western coast and back, a journey of 20 000km, in under 9 months. Journeys such as these dispel the thought the great whites are territorial species.