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ABOUT ELASMODVR

ANDY MURCH BIO

 

WHAT IS ELASMODIVER?

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 photography.

There are now more than 10,000 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:

WHAT'S NEW?

Shark picture - green sawfish

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GREAT WHITE SHARKS

Great White Shark

 

Great White Shark

Great White Shark Picture copyright Andy Murch. All rights reserved.

 

 

View all available Pictures of Great White Sharks in the Shark Pictures Database

 

Common Names: Great white shark, White shark, White pointer, Blue pointer.

 

Latin Name: Carcharodon carcharias

 

Family: Lamnidae

 

Identification: 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.

 

Size: Individuals encountered are usually in the 12 to 16ft range. Maximum recorded white shark length 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.

 

Habitat:  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 are found.

 

Abundance 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.

 

Reproduction: Ovoviviparous. Recorded litter size 2 - 10 but may be higher. Gestation has been estimated at 14 months.

 

Observations: Great White Sharks are known to peek out of the water at observers aboard boats. This ability may have developed due to their terrestrial diet. It may 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.

 

Photographs: Isla Guadalupe, Mexico.

 

Similar species: 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 the bars.

 

Diving logistics: The 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.

 

 

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