Category

Great White Shark

Photo of a Great White Shark Dorsal Fin

Great White Shark, Guadalupe Island, Mexico, Sharks, Wildlife

This is the dorsal fin of a great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) at Guadalupe Island, sticking above the water as the shark cruises at the surface.

Dorsal fin of a great white shark breaks the surface as the shark swims just below, Carcharodon carcharias, Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe)

Dorsal fin of a great white shark breaks the surface as the shark swims just below.
Image ID: 19493
Species: Great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias
Location: Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe), Baja California, Mexico

See also: great white shark photos, Guadalupe Island, Isla Guadalupe, Carcharodon carcharias photos.

Great White Shark Photo

Great White Shark, Guadalupe Island, Mexico, Sharks, Wildlife

I was pretty lucky to get this photo. This is a great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) that I photographed at Guadalupe Island while I was on a Shark Diver trip last week on the liveaboard boat Horizon. This one, a medium size (e.g, 12-13′) male, surprised us all. We were cooling our heels in the cage during a five minute lull, a rarity on this trip as virtually every minute we had at least one shark visible underwater. I happened to be staring off the port stern corner of the boat when suddenly this shark came streaking in from the edge of the visibility, took a huge bite at the bait and missed. I have never seen a shark swim so fast in my life. What motivated him to approach like that was a mystery. Typically the sharks at Guadalupe swim rather slowly around the boat, accelerating only with two or three final thrusts of their tails to take the bait. But this guy was going full steam the entire time, even as he disappeared into the gloom on the starboard side of the boat. His momentum carried him in front of the cage with his mouth still agape, which was awefully impressive. When I returned onto the deck later, the crew even commented how they were caught offguard by his rocket approach and how he left a pressure wave on the surface as he pumped his tail below. That such a large creature could move through the water with such speed was a real eye opener for me.

A great white shark opens it mouth just before it attacks its prey with a crippling, powerful bite.  After the prey has been disabled, the shark will often wait for it to weaken from blood loss before resuming the attack.  If the shark looses a tooth in the course of the bite, a replacement just behind it will move forward to take its place, Carcharodon carcharias, Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe)

A great white shark opens it mouth just before it attacks its prey with a crippling, powerful bite. After the prey has been disabled, the shark will often wait for it to weaken from blood loss before resuming the attack. If the shark looses a tooth in the course of the bite, a replacement just behind it will move forward to take its place.
Image ID: 19452
Species: Great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias
Location: Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe), Baja California, Mexico

See also: great white shark photos, Guadalupe Island, Isla Guadalupe, Carcharodon carcharias photos.

Shredder

Great White Shark, Guadalupe Island, Mexico, Sharks, Wildlife

This is “Shredder”, aka “Scar”, a great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) often seen at Guadalupe Island. In 2003 Shredder bit the anchor line of the Ocean Odyssey clean through, severing the boat from its anchor. He is named for his shredded dorsal fin. Shredder is about 13-14 feet long. Note that in this photograph he is sporting three satellite tags on his left flank just below his dorsal fin. They are covered with algae but are probably still operational. These tags collect information about his diving habits and water temperature and transmit this information to a satellite for use by researchers.

A great white shark swims through the clear waters of Isla Guadalupe, far offshore of the Pacific Coast of Mexico's Baja California. Guadalupe Island is host to a concentration of large great white sharks, which visit the island to feed on pinnipeds and use it as a staging area before journeying farther into the Pacific ocean, Carcharodon carcharias, Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe)

A great white shark swims through the clear waters of Isla Guadalupe, far offshore of the Pacific Coast of Mexico’s Baja California. Guadalupe Island is host to a concentration of large great white sharks, which visit the island to feed on pinnipeds and use it as a staging area before journeying farther into the Pacific ocean.
Image ID: 19470
Species: Great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias
Location: Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe), Baja California, Mexico

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Guadalupe White Shark Trip 2007

Great White Shark, Guadalupe Island, Mexico, Sharks, Wildlife

Just back from a quick trip to Guadalupe Island to photograph great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias). I had heard that this season has been a particularly good one for white sharks at Guadalupe, and I managed to get a few days off to get down there for a look on my favorite dive boat, the Horizon out of San Diego. (Patric Douglas at Shark Diver runs a series of trips each fall aboard the Horizon to see white sharks at Guadalupe.) Guadalupe is my favorite island, I love the place. I think I have made 15 trips to the island now, most for diving but at least five for white shark photography. I am always looking for an excuse to visit Isla Guadalupe as it never fails to offer up something extraordinary. This time was no exception. During three days at the island and about 18 hours in the cage, I saw probably 15 different white sharks ranging from about 8 feet to 13 feet or more in length, a mix of males and females, some I had seen and photographed before and some that were new to me and perhaps new to the white shark photo identification project. We’ll see on the latter once I submit the images to the researchers. We had only about one hour total where there were no sharks around the boat. We often had two at the boat, and on a few occasions had four within sight at once and six at the boat during a dive. There are a lot of white sharks at the north end of the island right now and from the sounds of it there have been for at least a month. It will take me a few weeks to sort through the 1700+ photos that I shot, select the keepers and get them processed for the web. Since I was using a new camera housing and lens, I was not entirely certain of how sharp the combo was so I pulled a few shots up on the computer between dives on the first day to check sharpness and exposure. Here is one:

A great white shark swims through the clear waters of Isla Guadalupe, far offshore of the Pacific Coast of Mexico's Baja California. Guadalupe Island is host to a concentration of large great white sharks, which visit the island to feed on pinnipeds and use it as a staging area before journeying farther into the Pacific ocean, Carcharodon carcharias, Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe)

A great white shark swims through the clear waters of Isla Guadalupe, far offshore of the Pacific Coast of Mexico’s Baja California. Guadalupe Island is host to a concentration of large great white sharks, which visit the island to feed on pinnipeds and use it as a staging area before journeying farther into the Pacific ocean.
Image ID: 19473
Species: Great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias
Location: Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe), Baja California, Mexico

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Guadalupe Island White Shark ID Project

Great White Shark, Guadalupe Island, Mexico, Sharks, Wildlife

I had an interesting conversation with Nicole Nasby Lucas of the Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research yesterday. Ms. Lucas and PIER co-founder Michael Domeier PhD have been conducting a capture/recapture study on great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) at Guadalupe Island, Mexico, building a database of identification photos and video of white sharks that inhabit the island. To date PIER has 73 individual sharks in their database, and the count increases each season. PIER also places a small number of satellite tags on Guadalupe white sharks to learn where they are going once they leave the island. Interestingly, some of the sharks tagged at Guadalupe Island swim all the way to the Hawaiian islands, including two of the sharks tagged during the most recent season. By observing the white sharks in this way, the PIER researchers are able to collect evidence about how the sharks utilize the island habitat and their migrations to and from the island.

I have had the good fortune of naming five of the PIER sharks by virtue of being the first photographer to capture each of them on film. The three females are named after my two daughters and my mother (you don’t think I am stupid enough to name one after my wife do you?). The two males are named after the notorious bachelors on Sex in the City: Big and The Russian.

In this case Ms. Lucas was able to link the right side and left side photographs by finding a common element between them: a notched tip on the left side ventral fin. Here she is, Guadalupe Island great white shark #57, “Leslie”:

For more information about PIER’s white shark research at Guadalupe Island, how the identification process works and what scientific publications have resulted from the study, visit the PIER website and see the online catalog.

Keywords: great white shark photos, Carcharodon carcharias photos, Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research

Smiling Great White Shark

Great White Shark, Guadalupe Island, Mexico, Sharks

One great white shark photo on our website that is viewed more than almost all others is this one:

A great white shark underwater.  A large great white shark cruises the clear oceanic waters of Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe), Carcharodon carcharias

A great white shark underwater. A large great white shark cruises the clear oceanic waters of Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe).
Image ID: 10119
Species: Great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias
Location: Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe), Baja California, Mexico

It appears that the great white shark in this photo is smiling at the cameraman, or is perhaps preparing to chomp the guy. In fact, this great white shark had just taken a mouthful of bait and was opening and closing its mouth in order to free bits of the bait from its teeth or gill slits. The exposure was made just as the shark happened to have both an open mouth and a gaze directed at the divers in the cage. Isla Guadalupe, Mexico.

Keywords: great white shark photo, Carcharodon carcharias, Guadalupe Island.

Sex and the Single Shark

Great White Shark, Guadalupe Island, Mexico, Sharks, Underwater Life, Wildlife

In the world of wildlife study, in which efforts are made to identify and track individual animals over time, researchers can fall prey to the temptation to name their subjects. There is considerable debate about the merits of this, as some scientists feel that assigning names to the animal subjects of a study causes the researchers to lose a certain amount of objectivity in the course of their observations. We have had the good luck of working with humpback whale researcher Dan R. Salden for a number of years, and observed that he made sure to always identify “his” humpbacks with an ID number rather than a descriptive name in an effort to avoid developing an attachment to them. However, it is unavoidable that over many years of work some individual animals receive a nickname in addition to their simple ID number. In the case of Dr. Salden’s whales, one such animal was “Mr. November” who had 30 days of fame when a photograph of his fluke appeared on the November page of a wall calendar.

We have been allowed to name five research subjects. It turns out that in some research efforts, the “right” to name an animal subject is given to the first person to photograph or videotape the animal. In this case, the animals happen to be great white sharks which I photographed and videotaped at Guadalupe Island. Three of them are females, big and beautiful sharks two of which are now named for my daughters who are happy to have the distinction of being the only students at school after whom killers have been named (the other female is named for my mother!). The remaining two are males, real brutes and good looking to boot, whom we decided to name for two notable lotharios of Sex in the City fame: Big and The Russian.

A great white shark underwater.  A large great white shark cruises the clear oceanic waters of Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe), Carcharodon carcharias

A great white shark underwater. A large great white shark cruises the clear oceanic waters of Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe).
Image ID: 10111
Species: Great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias
Location: Guadalupe Island (Isla Guadalupe), Baja California, Mexico