Carcharodon carcharias

Great white shark WSH
Characteristic features:

Dorsal surfaces blueish to bluish grey (becoming dark grey after death). Ventral surfaces dusky to whitish.


To at least ~600 cm TL; size at birth size 109–167 cm TL.


Circumglobal in all tropical and temperate waters.

View FAO distribution map.


Found from the intertidal zone to offshore from the surface too 250 m depth.


Feeds on a range of prey including bony and cartilaginous fish, squid and marine mammals including dolphins and seals. Estimates of life history parameters vary. Length at maturity estimates include and 450–500 cm TL1 and 352 cm FL2 for females and males respectively. Age at maturity estimates range between 7–33 and 4–26 years for females and males respectively.3, 4 Reproductive mode is viviparous with oophagy and adelphophagy. Litter size is 2–10 pups. Females are thought to give birth every 2 or 3 years. Longevity is estimates range from 30–73 years.5

Indonesian fisheries:

Caught rarely by pelagic longline.

Similar species:

Isurus oxyrinchus
Shortfin mako

Isurus oxyrinchus

Isurus oxyrinchus differs in having a less pointed snout that is dusky ventrally (vs. a more pointed snout that is white ventrally) and pectoral fins about as long as head (vs. pectoral fins far shorter than length of head).

Prionace glauca
Blue shark

Prionace glauca

Prionace glauca differs in having a asymmetrical caudal fin, with a much longer upper lobe and shorter lower lobe (vs. caudal fin lunate, with upper and lower lobes of similar length).

External links:
  1. Francis, M. Observations on a pregnant white shark with a review of reproductive biology. In: Great white sharks: the biology of Carcharodon carcharias. 1996:157-172.
  2. Pratt Jr, H. Reproduction in the male white shark. In ‘Great White Sharks: The Biology of’.(Eds AP Klimley and DG Ainley.) pp. 131–138. Academic Press: Millbrae, CA; 1996.
  3. Tanaka, S, Kitamura, T, Mochizuki, T, Kofuji, K. Age, growth and genetic status of the white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) from Kashima-nada, Japan. In: Marine and Freshwater Research. 2011;62(6):548-556.
  4. Natanson, L, Skomal, G. Age and growth of the white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, in the western North Atlantic Ocean. In: Marine and Freshwater Research. 2015;66(5):387-398.
  5. Hamady, L, Natanson, L, Skomal, G, Thorrold, S. Vertebral bomb radiocarbon suggests extreme longevity in white sharks. In: PloS one. 2014;9(1):e84006.