The adaptations of the great white shark

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The adaptations of the great white shark

The great white shark, made famous by the movie “Shark”, is one of the main predators of the ocean. The great white shark is the largest of the predatory fish on the planet, and has evolved millions of years in the ultimate killing machine. The animal has a series of adaptations to its physiology and behavior that make it a deadly predator.

Physical adaptations
The body shape of the white shark is one of its main adaptations, being much like a torpedo in order to limit friction while swimming. The powerful tail and muscular body help large fish swim at speeds up to 15 mph. Magnitude is an adaptation in itself. The shark reaches lengths of up to 20 feet and weighs as much as 5,000 pounds. Because of this, the animal has few predators. The shark’s dark gray coloration makes it difficult for a potential prey to detect in dark and deep waters.

Sensory adaptations
Sensory adaptations are what make these sharks so successful while hunting. Small sensory organs in the muzzle called blisters, or Lorenzini, detect tiny electrical charges emitted by all living beings. These organs help the great white dot an element of potential prey. An incredible sense of smell also helps the shark track prey. The shark can detect a small amount of blood in the water more than 3 miles away.

The breeding adaptations
Being so large, the white shark has adapted to give birth to live young, avoiding the need to take care of the eggs. Between 2 to 17 pups of live sharks are born, since it is 3 feet long. The large size of newborns also means that the father does not have to deal with them beyond birth.

Hunting and feeding Adaptations
Most shark adaptations are oriented around feeding. The shark will generally use a powerful death blow to kill its prey. It is positioned below a sea lion or seal and swims up at full speed. He hits his target, mouth open, and bites, often throwing himself and the prey out of the water. The jaws and teeth of the shark are their final feeding adaptation. The sharp teeth of the lower jaw cling to the carcass of the prey as the teeth of the upper jaw are used in a saw as the movement to cheat pieces of flesh. The brutal use of these teeth means that they are often broken or lost, so the shark has adapted to grow teeth again constantly.

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