The great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), also known as the great white, white pointer, white shark, or white death, is a species of large lamniform shark which can be found in the coastal surface waters of all the major oceans. The great white shark is mainly known for its size, with mature individuals growing up to 6.4 m (21 ft) in length (although reports have been published of great white sharks measuring over 8 m (26 ft)) and 3,324 kg (7,328 lb) in weight. This shark reaches its maturity around 15 years of age and was previously believed to have a life span of over 30 years. The true lifespan of great white sharks is far longer, now estimated to be as long as 70 years or more, making it one of the longest lived cartilaginous fish currently known. Male great white sharks reach sexual maturity at 26 years of age, females at 33. Great white sharks can accelerate to over 56 km/h (35 mph).
The great white shark has no natural predators other than the killer whale. The great white shark is arguably the world’s largest known extant macropredatory fish, and is one of the primary predators of marine mammals. It is also known to prey upon a variety of other marine animals, including fish and seabirds. It is the only known surviving species of its genus Carcharodon, and is ranked first in having the most recorded attacks on humans. The IUCN list the great white shark as a vulnerable species, while it is included in Appendix II of CITES.
The bestselling novel Jaws by Peter Benchley and the subsequent blockbuster film by Steven Spielberg depicted the great white shark as a “ferocious man eater“. Humans are not the preferred prey of the great white shark, but, nevertheless, the great white is responsible for the largest number of reported and identified fatal unprovoked shark attacks on humans.