Age, growth and genetic status of the white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) from Kashima-nada, Japan

Published on 24 June 2011.

S. Tanaka , T. Kitamura , T. Mochizuki  and K. Kofuji.


The white shark, a top predator inhabiting the world’s oceans, is an endangered species. However, knowledge of its life-history traits and population structure is still limited. We hypothesised that life-history traits would vary among populations because the species’ various habitats are diverse and change through time. Age was estimated by counting growth bands in the centra of white sharks caught in Japan. The von Bertalanffy growth parameters were estimated at L∞ = 455 cm TL, k = 0.196 year–1 and t0 = –1.92 years for males and L∞ = 607 cm TL, k = 0.159 year–1 and t0 = –1.80 years for females. The growth rate to maturity was higher than that known for individuals from California and South Africa. Male sharks matured at 310 cm TL at 4 years of age and females began to mature at ~450 cm TL and 7 years. The D-loop-region sequences of mitochondrial DNA extracted from Japanese white sharks and GenBank datasets from sharks of California, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa indicate that Japanese white sharks form a monophyletic clade separate from the populations of other regions. The results suggest that unique life-history traits of Japanese white sharks may be caused by genetic differences.

Marine and Freshwater Research 62(6) 548-556

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