April 1, 2008

Great White Open

by Moss

Recently, a great white shark was released from the Monterey Bay Aquarium after over a year in captivity. Within two weeks the shark was tracked migrating south of Baja,CA towards Mexico, an astonishing average of over 27 miles a day. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has held and released several great white sharks since it's inception. One, released in 2005 has been sighted recently (March 2008) basking off the coast of San Francisco. That's right San Francisco!! Below is an overview of the Carcharodon carcharias, taken from the web.

Great white shark
Carcharodon carcharias

The great white shark is probably the most famous shark of them all. The fearsome look and the occasional attacks on humans have made this shark the perfect star in both books and movies, e.g. Steven Spielberg's Jaws. The rumors are of course exaggerated, and as with most other sharks very little is known about the biology of the great white shark.

The great white shark is also known as white shark or white pointer, and is a member of the mackerel sharks, Lamnidae. Like the rest of its relatives in this group it is a good swimmer. It prefers cold shallow oceanic water near the coast and can be found in all temperate oceans and in some tropical as well, often associated with seal colonies. Compared to other shark species the great white shark is rare.

Because of its size and ability to swim well the great white shark is a formidable hunter with a broad spectra of prays. On the menu we find fish, other sharks, turtles, marine mammals e.g. seals and whales, carcass, garbage etc.

Females give birth to seven to nine live pups per litter, and the unborn pups practice uterine cannibalism. It is thought to produce only four to six litters in a lifetime. The young do not mature until about 10 to 12 years old, so the species is extremely vulnerable to overfishing.

The great white shark can be 6,5 meters long and weigh up to 3,2 ton.