A great white shark’s life cycle is a fascinating one, and it can teach us about the ocean in many ways. Life in the ocean is all about survival of the fittest, and sharks are no exception to this rule. The Life Cycle of a Great White Shark: Survival in the Ocean will explore how these incredible animals grow and develop from birth to death, as they struggle for their next meal.
From birth to death, growing out into what it needs to eventually become its own predator living on top of another fragile ecosystem – like humans themselves!
The Life Cycle of a Great White Shark
Sharks have been around since before dinosaurs ruled our planet but despite their long history we still know relatively little about them and why they need so many teeth!
Characteristics of great white sharks
The Great White Shark is a one-of-a-kind shark that has evolved to meet certain needs. It has a streamlined body that allows it to move quickly through the water. The skin has camouflage stripes and a protective layer to keep parasites at bay.
Its sharp serrated teeth aid in the tearing of flesh from its prey. Great Whites have keen vision and sense of smell, which helps them hunt down their prey.
How big are great white sharks?
Great white sharks are the largest predatory fish in the world. The average weight of a female great white is between 660 and 1,100 kg (1,500 and 2,450 lb). The largest known shark is the whale shark, with an average length of 46 feet. To compare, great whites are generally around 23 ft. in length.
How do great whites hunt for food?
Great white sharks rely on their speed to aid in their hunting. While swimming beneath the surface of the ocean, they look for prey.
Sharks can navigate and propel themselves thanks to their fins. They have a pair of pectoral fins, a pair of pelvic fins, two dorsal fins, an anal fin, and a caudal fin. Each set of gills has five slits and their mouth extends behind their eyes.
They have multiple rows of teeth, which can total in the thousands. When teeth fall out, the teeth in the row behind them quickly replace them.
Sharks have the same five senses that people do, but a shark’s nose can detect 1 part fish extract per 10 billion!
In addition to their great sense of smell, sharks can detect electrical signals from potential prey. The ampullae of Lorenzini are the shark’s electric sense organs. They are made up of enormous bulbous pores that are filled with a gelatinous material. These gelatinous fluids are connected to pores. From there, sensors run from the base of each pore to the brain, carrying electrical information from a cellular lining.
How long have sharks been around?
A few scales from the Late Ordovician Period, 450 million years ago, represent the earliest fossil evidence for sharks or their descendants.
The ‘golden age of sharks’ began 359 million years ago, at the close of the Devonian period. At this time, an extinction event wiped out at 3/4 of all species on Earth, including numerous families of fish that formerly inhabited the oceans. This event truly allowed sharks to take control and become kings of the sea.
In current oceans and waterways, there are over 1,000 different species of shark, with new species discovered every year. Great whites have evolved to camouflage from above to the darker sea below. And, if looking up at a shark from below, you’ll see its lighter, white underside. In addition to great whites, some of the most common sharks include tiger sharks, bull sharks, whale sharks, hammerheads.
What do great white sharks eat?
The great whites’ favorite food is seals, sea lions, and other marine mammals that live near coastal areas
Great white sharks are predators and will eat other species of sharks, and are even known to eat their young.
How great white sharks eat
Great whites do not chew their food as we do. Instead, they rip off bite-sized pieces of their prey by shaking their head and clenching down with their ferocious teeth.
Are sharks prey?
People hunt great white sharks for their jaws, teeth, and fins.
Orca (killer whales) can and do hunt great white sharks.
Conflicts between these two predators can have a significant impact on the food chain. Orcas scare sharks away from elephant seal colonies. And, if sharks are absent from the habitat of seals, they will again flourish in the absence of predator sharks.
Where do great white sharks live?
Great White Sharks can be found all over the world, but they prefer temperate or cold waters. They have been known to cruise 600 to 4,000 feet deep in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.
In addition to ocean waters, these sharks may be found in many different types of water, including fresh and brackish.
Bull sharks can live in both salt and fresh water, and they may move up rivers for long distances. They’ve been reported to migrate as far up the Mississippi River as Alton, Illinois, which is hundreds of miles from the ocean. However, just a few freshwater human-shark encounters have been documented.
The Life Cycle of a Great White Shark
Sharks are one of the longest-living cartilaginous fishes, with an estimated life span of at least 70 years. Some sharks, such as the Greenland shark, may live from at least 272 years to an astounding 500 years.
Life Cycle of a Great White Shark: Early life
Many sharks are viviparous, which means they have live pups. Female great whites can give birth to 2-14 pups at a time after 12-22 months of pregnancy.
Sharks get their sustenance from a yolk sac at first. Sharks have an umbilical cord that runs between their pectoral fins and transports nutrients and oxygen from the mother’s bloodstream.
Then, when a great white shark is born, it swims away from its mother. Many young sharks do not make it through their first year. Fish and rays are easy prey for young great white sharks as they learn to hunt and become master predators of the sea.
Sharks spend most of their time alone, looking for food. When they are on the hunt, they can reach burst speeds up to 43 miles per hour. They use a burst of speed to bump their victim while simultaneously biting it once they spot it.
They do not sleep like humans but have been known to take the occasional rest. In cold months, sharks tend to rest more, up to 10 percent of the day.
Sharks start copulating once they’ve found a mate, resulting in internal fertilization.
When female sharks are ready to mate, they release pheromones that make it simple for male sharks to discover them. The sharks then engage in a complicated dance as the male tries to fertilize the female’s eggs. To get into a position to mate, the male frequently bites the female’s back, sides, and fins. Because of this, female shark skin is roughly twice as thick as male shark skin.
Male sharks have claspers, while female sharks have cloaca. When a clasper is placed into the cloaca and sperm is injected into the female, fertilization occurs.
Do shark attacks happen a lot?
Indeed, there have been many shark attacks near beaches and coastlines worldwide, provoking fear in even the bravest seafarers. In fact, the International Shark Attack file documents 6,500 distinct studies spanning the early 1500s to the present day.
Should people fear sharks?
Chances are, you’re more likely to be carried out to sea by a rip current than a great white. For example, in 2013, there were 22,499 deaths caused by rip currents compared to 47 shark attack fatalities.
“Hit and run” attacks are perhaps the most typical. These are most common in the surf zone, with swimmers and surfers being the most likely targets. The shark rarely returns after delivering a single bite wound, and the victim rarely witnesses the shark beforehand. Most likely, these are situations of mistaken identity that occur when water visibility is low.
For the best safety, swimmers and surfers should keep a healthy respect for the ocean, its power, and its inhabitants. Any huge shark poses a threat to humans, especially if persons are mistaken for common prey. And, while these attacks are rare, they are never impossible.
How are sharks beneficial?
Sharks have some pretty unique abilities you may not know about. For one, sharks have antimicrobial skin due to their specific shape and ability to prevent bacteria formations on their skin. With research, companies are developing similar materials for hospitals and other healthcare settings.
Additionally, sharks are beneficial to tourist locations. Shark tourism generates more than $300 million per year and is expected to more than double in the next 20 years. Shark diving tourism generates more than $17 million in revenue for the Australian economy each year.
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Why sharks are important
The fact that our oceans are polluted is not new information. There are many vulnerable animals in fragile ecosystems, including sharks. Sharks are indeed the rulers of the ocean, but that doesn’t mean they’re free from hunting, finning, habitat destruction, and pollution.
Sharks are beneficial to other fish too. For weeks to months at a time, carcasses of large animals, like sharks, can nourish scavenger populations on the deep floor of the sea.
We can help sharks by refraining from consuming their meat, supporting marine legislation, and educating them about these wonderful creatures.