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NEFSC Apex Predators Program

white shark White shark

WHITE SHARK

Carcharodon carcharias

SIZE

To about 21 ft (6.4 m).

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

  • Teeth large, triangular, serrated
  • Snout conical
  • First dorsal fin large, triangular
  • Color leaden-white to brown or black above, shading to gray-white below
  • Caudal fin lunate with single keel on caudal peduncle

DISTRIBUTION

Newfoundland, Canada, and Gulf of St. Lawrence to FL, Cuba, Bahamas, and Gulf of Mexico. Uncommon throughout its range.

HABITAT

Coastal and offshore along continental shelf and islands.

SIMILAR SPECIES

Basking shark attains larger maximum size (around 32 ft (9.8 m)); has gill slits nearly encircling head. Shortfin mako, longfin mako, and porbeagle have bladelike, smooth-edged teeth, different coloration; attain smaller maximum size. Porbeagle has secondary keels on caudal fin.

MORE INFORMATION


Guide to Sharks, Tunas, & Billfishes of the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

Text descriptions taken from:
Guide to Sharks, Tunas, & Billfishes
of the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico

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(File Modified Aug. 08 2017)