The great white shark remains one of the most terrifying creatures within the animal kingdom. While humans are not one of its main food sources, this shark species has been known to attack us and has been the focus of many horror movies in the past. This is because of the shark’s sheer size, strength, and appearance. However, these menacing creatures, just like many other sharks and fishes, are listed as a vulnerable species. While people may feel a little safer in the water if they were extinct, great white sharks play an important role in the world’s ecosystem. This apex predator needs to stay around.
One of the issues with great white sharks is their ability to reproduce. There are several factors that are unknown when discussing great white shark reproduction. What we can infer is that the great white shark reproduction process is long, sparse, and doesn’t yield enough offspring to remain off the endangered list.
The Birthing Process
Here is what we know so far regarding the great white shark reproduction process. The great white shark is ovoviviparous. In other words, a shark grows inside an egg and hatches inside the mother. Afterward, the shark pup is born. While they are still in the womb, the shark pup will feed on the unfertilized eggs in order to keep growing. This method of feeding is known as oophagy.
The gestation period takes longer than what we are used to. It is estimated that the whale shark pregnancy cycle is about 12 to 18 months. The size of the litter can vary for great white sharks, but the common range is about two to ten pups. However, there have been reports of litters carrying around 17 pups.
When they are born, great white shark pups will measure around 5 feet (1.5 meters) and weigh about 77 pounds (35 kilograms). These sharks grow slowly and take considerable time to mature and produce offspring. Males are able to reach maturity at the age of 9 or 10, while females mature at ages 14-16. It is believed by scientists that these sharks can live up to 30 years. With that in mind, great white shark reproduction can only occur during a relatively short timeframe.
Because of the long gestation period, it’s possible that female great whites give birth every other year, taking some time to rest after mating. This low reproductive rate and slow growth to maturity are concerns to great white conservationists. Scientists are interested in learning more about the shark’s reproductive habits so that they will know better what conservation methods are needed.
Understanding The Importance Of These Sharks
There is a lot of fear going around the scientist community regarding great white sharks and great white shark reproduction. Scientists all agree that these creatures play a major role in our ecosystem. They tell us to put aside the fears planted in our heads from horror movies. Without great white sharks, the aquatic ecosystem would be out of whack. These creatures are famous for eating seals, with in turn eat salmon. If there is nothing to eat the seals, then this could lead to the elimination of salmon entirely. Unfortunately, great white shark reproduction is a slow process, and the fish are being killed off by human bycatch and hunting. We need to make sure these creatures stay around forever. Visit our website to learn more information about great white sharks, and other magnificent sharks that are posed to endangerment.