PORT PHILLIP BAY


White Shark 

Carcharodon carcharias (Linnaeus, 1758)

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Meristics.
Vertebrae: 172-187 (precaudal 100-108)
Jaw teeth (upper): 13:13
Jaw teeth (lower): 12:12

Additional information in:
Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) (2008) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Order level detail.
A diverse group that includes a number of highly specialised sharks, including the Goblin Shark, the Basking Shark, the Megamouth Shark, the White Shark, nurse sharks and thresher sharks. Species are found worldwide in tropical and temperate oceanic and coastal waters. They have two dorsal fins (without spines) and an anal fin, but lack a nictitating membrane on the eye. Most are streamlined, open-water sharks that mostly swim constantly.

Family level detail.
Large, powerful streamlined sharks with stout fusiform bodies, pointed snouts and a large mouth extend with sharp medium to large teeth. They have two widely-spaced dorsal fins, the first tall, the second very small, and pronounced keels along the sides of the tail base. Pelagic sharks, found worldwide in coastal and oceanic waters.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Craniata
Superclass:
Gnathostomata
Class:
Chondrichthyes
Subclass:
Elasmobranchii
Order:
Lamniformes
Family:
Lamnidae
Genus:
Carcharodon
Species:
carcharias

Other Names

  • Great White Shark

General Description

A powerful active shark with a very high first dorsal fin, a crescent-shaped tail, large triangular serrate teeth, and minute anal and second dorsal fins. Blue-grey to greyish-brown above, abruptly changing to a white underside. To 6 m.

Biology

This extremely dangerous and voracious predator feeds on seals, penguins, fishes and seabirds. White sharks are responsible for many fatal attacks on humans. They are protected throughout Australia.

Habitat

Often seen inshore, although also found in the open ocean, to depths below 1000 m.

Open water

Distribution guide

Worldwide. Southern and eastern Australia.

Species Group

Sharks and rays Sharks

Depth

Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

Midwater

Max Size

6 m

Diet

Carnivore

Harmful

Dangerous to humans with fatal attacks known.

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Recorded in Australia

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Vulnerable
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Vulnerable
  • IUCN Red List : Vulnerable

Author

article author Bray, D.J.

Di Bray is a Senior Collection Manager of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

Author

article author Gomon, M.F.

Dr. Martin Gomon is a Senior Curator of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F., 2011, White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 25 Sep 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/7984

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