Introduction to White Shark

Sharks are very powerful and predatory aquatic species. Sharks belong to the class Chondrichthyes. There are above 250 species of sharks. The white shark is one of the most ferocious shark species. The white shark is also called the great white shark or white pointer due to its dominance in water. White sharks are very strong and they are very fast as well. That is why they are so dominant in the sea. They live in both tropical and temperate seas. A very strong jaw with sharp acrodont teeth makes a shark animal a dangerous predator. Great white shark size does not exceed 21 feet having an average weight of 1400 kg. White sharks are completely marine; they are not found in inland waters. The great white shark is thus very ferocious and man-eater. That makes the great white shark one of the most publicly feared fishes. However, its life and behaviour are very interesting.

Body Structure of White Shark

The term great white shark suggests the gigantic size of white sharks. They have a large bulky spindled-shaped body. That gives it agility under the water. Gill slits occur laterally. Endoskeleton is cartilaginous. Great white shark size varies from 6 meters to 6.4 meters and a fully grown white shark weight varies between 680 and 1800 kg. Despite such a gigantic size, they are very much agile under the water. White sharks are characterised by their sharp smelling power, great muscular strength, agility, strong jaws with sharp acrodont teeth. They have large pectoral and dorsal fins, supported by horny fin rays. They possess a heterocercal strong crescent-shaped tail. It has been documented that some white sharks can weigh more than 2270 kg. Contrary to their name, white sharks have a contrasting pattern of dark blue, grey on their back and sides, only their belly is whitish. 

[Image will be Uploaded Soon]

Physical Characteristics of White Shark

Some typical great white shark facts can be highlighted through their physical and physical features. The great white shark belongs to the class Chondrichthyes. They have a ventral mouth. Their body is covered with microscopic placoid scales. They lack air bladders as a result they have to swim all the time to prevent sinking. It is one of the most unique great white shark facts. Their respiratory system involves lateral gill slits without any operculum. Another one of the most interesting great white shark facts is the snout part of the head contains jelly-filled tubes called ampullae of Lorenzini, that open to the outside, possess terminal sensory cells capable of detecting temperature, salinity and 0smotic potential.

Physiological Features of White Shark

White sharks have to swim all the time to prevent sinking due to the absence of air bladders. They have a complex circulatory system that helps to conserve heat energy during muscle contraction during swimming. As a result, they have a higher body temperature than the temperature of the surrounding water. Such a mechanism is known as regional endothermy, which makes white shark fish a warm-blooded aquatic creature. Such a unique feature allows white sharks to be active in colder water that may be intolerable for other species of predatory sharks. 

Distribution of White Sharks

Generally, the larger sharks live in warm waters. To state what is a great white sharks habitat it should be mentioned that white sharks are commonly found in temperate coastal waters which have an abundance of fishes and marine mammals. The coasts of northeastern and western United States, northern Japan, southern Australia, New Zealand, southern Africa, etc. are the great white shark living areas. It is documented that white sharks can travel to tropics from temperate regions but they return to the highly productive temperate waters. Their body temperature controlling ability adds more advantages to their predation. That is why white sharks are one of the most largely distributed shark species.

Feeding Habits of White Sharks

White sharks feed on other fishes, crustaceans, molluscs and other sea mammals. Newborn white sharks feed on mainly other fishes. When they grow up they start eating sea turtles, sea lions, porpoises, dolphins, and also small whales. They have sharp sight and smelling power, great muscular strength and their jaws are equipped with large, sharply pointed teeth. With the help of such, they give massive fatal bites to their prey. White sharks rushed to their prey so strongly that they may send the prey out of water. With the help of a strong jaw, they catch their prey so strongly that it can hardly escape from the grip. White sharks are so agile that they give a sudden rush to their prey. That makes the great white shark the most ferocious predator.  

Attacks On Humans By White Sharks

The great white shark is also known as the man-eating shark. Due to its larger size and having a very strong jaw, white sharks give numerous unprovoked, fatal attacks on swimmers, divers, surfers and even small boats. It has been found from studies that white sharks tend to capture their human target by a single bite, they don't return for the second attack. Lots of such shark attacks are reported in temperate coastal areas. Such attacks can be fatal also. It has been reported that Australia has the highest fatality rate due to white shark attacks. 

Swimming is restricted in white shark-infested beaches such as of S.W.Pacific ocean and eastern Australian beaches. Electronic and aerial petrol is used to locate shoals of white sharks and warn the people living along beaches.

Other Behaviours of White Sharks

From scientific studies of white sharks, it has been reported that no specific social behaviour has been seen among white sharks; however, there is evidence that some white sharks can maintain a hierarchy of dominance around feeding areas. Generally, white sharks don't move in bulk, but they travel together. White sharks show migratory behaviour. It has been observed that South African white sharks migrate to southern Australia.


White sharks exhibit internal reproduction. White sharks show an interesting type of reproduction where they retain the fertilised eggs within the body. The young in the womb feed on undeveloped eggs and come out at a mature stage. Such a kind of reproduction is known as ovoviviparous reproduction.

Role of White Sharks in Marine Food Chains

White sharks remain at the top of the marine food chain as a predator. But white sharks have some natural enemies like adult killer whales. It is to be noted that young white sharks are eaten by other adult white sharks. They control the overgrowth of small fishes that can reduce the resources undersea. Thus white sharks maintain the balance of the marine ecosystem as a tertiary consumer in the marine food chain. But the most threatening enemy of white sharks are human beings

Conservation of White Sharks

White shark liver is a rich source of vitamin A. Their teeth are used for making pieces of jewellery. In some countries, they are used as good food and due to their ferocity, they are used in some attacking sports. For the above reasons, they are hunted uncontrollably. So the most threatening enemy of white sharks is human beings. Habitat loss, shortage of foods, climate change due to global warming are great threats to the existence of the white shark population. Due to the higher rate of extinction, white sharks are classified as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN). Several other industrialized countries made laws to prohibit such types of white shark hunting. To maintain the balance in the marine ecosystem, the conservation of white sharks is very important.

Conclusion

The white shark is one of the most ferocious shark species. White sharks are commonly found in temperate coastal waters which have an abundance of fishes and marine mammals. White shark liver is a rich source of vitamin A. Their teeth are used for making pieces of jewellery. In some countries, they are used as good food. White sharks remain at the top of the marine food chain as a predator. To maintain the balance in the marine ecosystem, the conservation of white sharks is very important. That is why the study of external morphology and behaviours are so important. 

Did You Know?

  1. The great white shark is also known as the man-eating shark. Due to its larger size and having a very strong jaw, white sharks give numerous unprovoked, fatal attacks on swimmers, divers, surfers and even small boats. It has been reported that Australia has the highest fatality rate due to white shark attacks. Swimming is restricted in white shark-infested beaches such as of S.W.Pacific ocean and eastern Australian beaches. Electronic and aerial petrol is used to locate shoals of white sharks and warn the people living along beaches.

  2. White sharks remain at the top of the marine food chain as a predator. But white sharks have some natural enemies like adult killer whales. It is to be noted that young white sharks are eaten by other adult white sharks. But the most threatening enemy of white sharks are human beings

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. Describe the Structure of the Great White Sharks.

Answer. The great white shark belongs to the class Chondrichthyes. They have a ventral mouth. Their body is covered with microscopic placoid scales. They lack air bladders as a result they have to swim all the time to prevent sinking.  Great white shark size varies from 6 meters to 6.4 meters and a fully grown white shark weight varies between 680 and 1800 kg. Despite such a gigantic size, they are very much agile under the water. White sharks are characterised by their sharp smelling power, great muscular strength, agility, strong jaws with sharp acrodont teeth. They have large pectoral and dorsal fins, supported by horny fin rays. They possess a heterocercal strong crescent-shaped tail. It has been documented that some white sharks can weigh more than 2270 kg. White sharks have a contrasting pattern of dark blue, grey on their back and sides, only their belly is whitish.

Q2. Why Are the Great White Sharks One of the Most Publicly Feared Fishes?

Answer. The great white shark is also known as the man-eating shark. Due to its larger size and having a very strong jaw, white sharks give numerous unprovoked, fatal attacks on swimmers, divers, surfers and even small boats. They have sharp sight and smelling power, great muscular strength and their jaws are equipped with large, sharply pointed teeth. With the help of such, they give massive fatal bites to their prey. White sharks rushed to their prey so strongly that they may send the prey out of water. With the help of a strong jaw, they catch their prey so strongly that it can hardly escape from the grip. White sharks are so agile that they give a sudden rush to their prey. That makes the great white shark the most ferocious predator. That makes the great white shark one of the most publicly feared fishes. 

Q3. Mention Some Special Characteristics of White Sharks.

Answer. White sharks have to swim all the time to prevent sinking due to the absence of air bladders. They have a complex circulatory system that helps to conserve heat energy during muscle contraction during swimming. As a result, they have a higher body temperature than the temperature of the surrounding water. Such a mechanism is known as regional endothermy, which makes white shark fish a warm-blooded aquatic creature. Such a unique feature allows white sharks to be active in colder water that may be intolerable for other species of predatory sharks. 


Another one of the most interesting great white shark facts is the snout part of the head contains jelly-filled tubes called ampullae of Lorenzini, that opens to the outside, possess terminal sensory cells capable of detecting temperature, salinity and osmotic potential.