Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias)
Baja California Peninsula, Mexico
This Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias) was photographed off the coast of Isla Guadalupe, Mexico. This island, located about 150 miles west of the Baja peninsula, is mostly volcanic. It consists of two inactive, overlapping shield volcanoes and is approximately 94 square miles. It is only inhabited by about 15 people. Off the coast of the island has incredible kelp beds and is considered a pinniped sanctuary. This means that the coastal area of the island is highly populated with fin-footed mammals (i.e. seals and sea lions). Because these marine mammals are so prolific along the coast, their greatest predators, the great whites, are also highly concentrated in this region. The average great white can live up to 30 years and grow to a length exceeding 20 feet. One of the most intriguing facts about this ferocious predator is that they have around 3,000 teeth that are constantly being regenerated and rotated into place as they are broken or lost. Although the great white shark is considered to pose the most danger to humans, they do not specifically seek out humans as prey and most attacks have been because the shark has mistaken the identity of its victim. The great white shark has little ability to see and mainly uses its sense of electrical charges and smell to determine subjects in its surroundings.
(Photograph taken in August 2011 by James W. Mahoney, West Palm Beach, Florida.)