The tracking of a certain group of female Great White Sharks have recently produced some enlightening information into their mating and migratory patterns. The tracking was done on a group of females off the coast of Mexico and with satellites that held longer lasting batteries that made the almost 3 year tracking project possible.
The research found that the females complete a 2 year breeding cycle and try to avoid males as much as possible. The females mate off the coast of Mexico’s Guadalupe Island and then follow a meandering path through the open waters. They stay away from the shores for almost 15 of the 18 months of their gestation period and then gradually start making their way to the warm waters of California. The females then give birth to their pups off the coasts of Baja, California. This unfortunately puts them and their pups at great risk, as they move quite close to the shore. The dangers of running into fishing nets and shipping traffic becomes a reality, especially as the pups are not strong enough to free themselves from nets yet.
After giving birth, the females return to their mating grounds at Guadalupe Island to complete the 24 month cycle. Males have been found to return to the mating grounds every year, unlike the females, but both seem to travel the open water in between mating.
The study has also shown that the sharks have increasing numbers of bite marks. It is known that the male sharks bite the heads, flanks and pectoral fins of females during the mating ritual. The researchers suspect it might be from males fighting over females or preferred hunting grounds.
After so many years of depicting them in films and series, we still remain in the dark about so many fascinating aspects of these magnificent creatures. Guess the saying rings true, We fear the unknown. Let us hope there will be more like the researchers of the Marine Conservation Science Instition and our own Shark Cage Diving companies and conservationists.