How long does a great white shark live

According to a recent study, the lifespan of great white sharks is estimated at 70 years or more, well above previous estimates, making them one of the longest-lived cartilaginous fish currently known

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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How long does a great white shark live

According to a recent study, the lifespan of great white sharks is estimated at 70 years or more, well above previous estimates, making them one of the longest-lived cartilaginous fish currently known. According to the same study, male great white sharks take 26 years to reach maturity, while females take 33 years to be ready to produce offspring.

The great white shark is particularly widespread in cold or temperate waters between 11 and 24 °C, on the coast or offshore. It is particularly present off the southern coasts: of Australia, of South Africa, of California, of Mexico, of the north-eastern United States and in the Mexican island of Guadalupe, in New Zealand.

However, it can also be found in warmer waters, such as the Caribbean. There are areas that have become particularly interesting due to the high number of specimens present, such as Seal Island in South Africa, where there is a colony of tens of thousands of seals which attract numerous large specimens of white sharks and, consequently, numerous tourists who come to admire their depredations.

In an area of the Pacific between Baja California and Hawaii there is the so-called White Shark Café, full of white sharks for reasons still unclear. Also present in the Mediterranean Sea where there is a breeding area in the area that includes Sicily, Malta and Tunisia.

A 2010 study carried out on the genetic heritage of white sharks present in Turkey, Tunisia and Sicily and published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society hypothesized that Mediterranean white sharks arrived from Australia 450,000 years ago through the Strait of Gibraltar due of an error in following the sea currents and that they are no longer able to get out of it.

Proof of this would be their genetic heritage, much more similar to that of Australian white sharks than that of Atlantic white sharks. The same study also argues that since Atlantic sharks enter the Mediterranean very rarely, Mediterranean white sharks are genetically isolated.

It is a pelagic shark, but it approaches the coasts particularly in areas where the continental shelf is very close to them or in areas particularly rich in potential preys. It does not tolerate fresh water but can frequent areas near estuaries and penetrate saline bays with little interest in low tide phenomena, as well as in areas where there are sewage outlets, given that organic residues attract the attention of the shark's senses.

It tends to remain at a depth ranging from the surface to 250 meters, although it can go much further, up to 1,200 meters and makes numerous trans-oceanic routes, for example from South Africa to Australasia or from California to Hawaii.

It is absent in the cold regions: the Arctic, the Antarctic, the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea. It tends to avoid areas where human presence manifests itself with overfishing and water pollution, however it seems to persist in some densely populated areas such as the Strait of Messina or the Californian and Australian beaches. Occasionally, this species can also reach the Sea of Okhotsk and Tierra del Fuego, but only rarely.