White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias) Family Lamnidae, Mackerel sharks
Common name: great white, maneater
Description: White sharks are gray to brown above and fade to dirty white around their belly. A distinctive black spot can be found just behind the base of each of their two pectoral fins. White sharks are large, full bodied fish with conical snouts. Their lunate tail fin has caudal keels and lobes of equal length. The teeth of a white shark are large and triangular with serrated edges. These fish average about 15 feet in length and weigh approximately 1,500 pounds, though large examples have been measured at 21 feet and upwards of 4,800 pounds. White sharks, as well as basking sharks, are federally protected species.
Where found: offshore
Similar Gulf of Maine species: mako shark, basking shark, porbeagle shark
Remarks: White sharks are strong swimmers and voracious predators. Their diet consists of both large and small prey. These sharks can easily devour marine mammals or other large sharks and have been known to attack humans. In Maine’s coastal waters, the may be found where there is a high concentration of seals or a floating dead whale carcass.
Fish Illustrations by: Roz Davis Designs, Damariscotta, ME (207) 5632286
Drawings provided courtesy of the Maine Department of Marine Resources Recreational Fisheries program and the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund.