Carcharodon carcharias (Great white shark)
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Carcharodon carcharias (Great white shark) [Illustration
by Ann Hecht ©]
A huge, spindle-shaped shark with small
conspicuous black eyes, blunt conical snout, and large, triangular,
saw-edged teeth. Colour lead grey to brown or black above, lighter
on sides, abruptly white below, a black spot at rear pectoral base.
To 7.1 m TL.
Almost entire coast from Namibia to Natal;
all temperate and tropical seas.
Coastal and offshore, surfline and shallow bays to offshore islands, surface to 1280 m
An active, swift, powerful shark that can leap out
of the water. Eats bony fish, sharks and rays, seals, dolphins and
porpoises, sea birds, carrion, squid, octopi, and crabs. Bears 7 to
A potentially dangerous species that
infrequently attacks divers, swimmers, surfers, and boats; often
investigates divers and boats without attacking. Caught by big-game
anglers, by the Natal shark nets, and by lineboats for its jaws.
Text by Leonard J.V. Compagno, David A. Ebert
and Malcolm J. Smale