Great white sharks: largest predatory fish in the world

  •  Wednesday, August 23rd, 2023  Animalsforkids

    Great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias), usually called white sharks, are regarded as the largest predatory fish in the world. This fact has been recorded in Guinness book of world records. Belonging to a partially “warm-blooded” family of sharks called Lamnidae, they are able to maintain an internal body temperature that’s warmer than their external environment. This is unlike other “cold-blooded” sharks.

    Great white sharks are the only existing members of the genus Carcharodon. Greek words “karcharos,” which means sharpen, and “odous,” which means teeth, combinedly inspired the naming of genus Carcharodon. This name is most appropriate, as great white sharks have rows of up to 300 serrated, triangular teeth. These grey skinned white bellied sharks have bullet-shaped bodies.

    Thanks to movies like “Jaws” (1975), great white sharks are one of the best-known shark species but in reality they live a very secretive lifestyle, and scientists still have much knowledge to gather about these iconic predators.

    How big are great white sharks?

    Great white shark size varies quite a bit. Females grow lengthier compared to males. Males manage to reach just 11 to 13 feet (3.4 to 4 m) while female great white sharks reach lengths of up to 15 to 16 feet (4.6 to 4.9 meters, according to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. Above mentioned figures are averages and the largest great white sharks can grow to 20 feet long (6.1 m). According to the Florida Museum of Natural History, there are unsubstantiated reports of great whites growing to 23 feet long (7 m). According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), adults weigh in the rage of 4,000 and 7,000 pounds (1,800 and 3,000 kilograms).

    They may be largest predatory fish but great whites are not the biggest sharks in the world. That title is in safe custody of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus), which are filter-feeders and generally grow up to 33 feet (10 m) long and weigh around 42,000 pounds (19,000 kg). Point to be noted here is that now-extinct megalodon (Carcharocles megalodon) was the biggest shark species ever, which may have grown up to 60 feet long (18 m) or more, although its exact size is still being debated among scientists.

    Where do great white sharks live?

    Great white sharks have a wide habitation range; they inhabit most temperate and tropical oceans around the world and have resident populations off the coasts of the U.S., South Africa, Australia and other countries. They are usually sighted in cooler, temperate waters. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), white sharks swim at the surface as well as deep down more than 3,900 feet (1,200 m) below the surface.

    Great white sharks are known to be migratory and undertake long-distance journeys across the open ocean, perhaps for food and breeding. Researchers once tracked a great white shark swimming 6900 miles from South Africa to Australia before heading back.