Not just Shark
Pictures: Elasmodiver contains photos of sharks, skates, rays, and
chimaera's from around the world. Elasmodiver began as a simple web
based shark field guide to help divers find the best places to
encounter the different species of sharks and rays that live in
shallow water but it has slowly evolved into a much larger project
containing information on all aspects of shark diving and shark
There are now
more than 5000 shark pictures and sections on shark evolution,
biology, and conservation. There is a large library of reviewed
shark books, a constantly updated shark taxonomy page, a monster
list of shark links, and deeper in the site there are numerous
articles and stories about shark encounters. Elasmodiver is now so
difficult to check for updates, that new information and pictures
are listed on an Elasmodiver Updates Page that can be accessed here:
white shark, White shark, White pointer, Blue pointer.
The Great White Shark is often
of immense size and girth. Conical snout with broad jaw containing large, serrated,
triangular teeth. Round, blue/black eye with no nictitating layer. Gill slits
long. Ventral tips of pectoral fins black or dark. Occasional black spot on
pectoral axil. Second dorsal and anal fin small. Well developed caudal keel.
Caudal fin lunate and only slightly asymmetric. Upper body grey or blue/grey
with distinct ragged demarcation to white or pale underside.
encountered are usually in the 12 to 16ft range. Maximum recorded white
exceeds 6.1m with a weight in excess of 1240kg. However, maximum length probably
exceeds 7.1m weighing a hefty 2300kg.
The small increase in overall length equates to a massive increase in girth most
of which is largely taken up by the enlarged liver that offsets increased
negative buoyancy. Californian great white sharks tend to be proportionately heavier
than those from South Africa or Australia. 1 to 1.5m at birth.
Coastlines to offshore reefs and islands. May migrate over thousands of miles of
open ocean to isolated seamounts and islands. One individual tagged in
California was tracked to Hawaii. A regular visitor where seal and sea lion colonies
and distribution: Circumtropical
and temperate. Uncommonly seen in tropics. Occasional in temperate waters.
From the surface to at least 1,875 m.
Behavior:Smaller Great Whites prefer to eat bottom dwelling fish and small
sharks and rays. Larger individuals continue to eat fish but the diet is
extended to seals and sea lions, dolphins, whale carcasses, turtles, molluscs'
and crustaceans. Hunts pinnipeds by stealth from below. Sometimes rockets to the
surface and breaches whilst taking prey. This behaviour exacts devastating
wounds. After the initial attack the prey may be left to bleed to death or
consumed immediately. Other than by humans, preyed upon only by orcas.
Recorded litter size 2 - 10 but may be higher. Gestation has been estimated at
White Sharks are known to peek out of the water at observers aboard boats.
This ability may have developed due to their terrestrial diet.
allow the shark to see if a potential meal is waiting above the surface or it
may be a technique to frighten pinnepeds on rocks into jumping into the water to
flee. In whales this behaviour is called spy hopping.
Isla Guadalupe, Mexico.
Porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus), Salmon shark (Lamna ditropis). Both of these
species are smaller than the great white with proportionately larger eyes, and more pointed teeth.
The Porbeagle shark is known from the North Atlantic, Mediterranean, Argentina
and Chile, South Africa, and Southern Australia. The Salmon sharks more limited
range consists of the North Pacific from Japan to Alaska, south to Southern
California, and possibly Baja California.
Reaction to divers:Renowned as the world's most dangerous man-eater
the great white shark is worthy of great respect. When occasionally encountered on or
around reefs white sharks are generally cautious but may approach closely.
Divers have on occasion left the safety of their cages to free swim with these
animals but this behaviour is not recommended. If a white shark is spotted
whilst on a normal dive it would be wise to leave the water at the first
opportunity. White shark attacks are most common on divers that are spear
fishing or near seal and sea lion colonies where attacks may be from
misidentification. In baited cage situations white sharks are generally cautious
but may be encouraged to come very close to the cage, sometimes even biting at
three main centers for cage diving with great white sharks around the world are:
Baja (Guadalupe Island), South Africa, and South Australia. Guadalupe Island in Baja
California is presently a favoured spot due to the number of white sharks in attendance
and the incredible clarity of the water for photographers. Some locations are better than
others for viewing breaches and some are better for below water action. Do your
home work before choosing an operator. Try to ascertain how often they see the
sharks before forking over the big bucks. Any reports of unscrupulous operators
abusing the sharks (or divers) are welcome and confirmed information will be posted on this page to
help others choose a reliable outfit. A fairly comprehensive list of cage diving
operators from around the world can be found on the shark-links page.
Other diving locations submitted by
Quest Centre for Shark Research. (An excellent web site with extensive
information on all aspects of White shark biology and behaviour). Reef
Sharks and Rays of the World. Scott W. Michael. Sea Challengers.
and Rays - Elasmobranch Guide of the World. Ralf M. Hennemann. IKAN.
Sharks of the World, Leonard Compagno et al. Princeton Press