Litters and Estimate of Gestation Period
of White Shark Carcharodon carcharias (Linnaeus, 1758)

Francis, M. P. (1996)
. Observations on a pregnant white shark with a review of reproductive biology. In Great white sharks. In 'The Biology of the White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias'. Eds. A. P. Klimley & D. G. Ainley . Academic Press, San Diego CA USA, pp. 157-172 (download pdf); and
Uchida, S., Toda M., Teshima K., & Yano K. (1996)
. Pregnant white sharks with near-term fetuses from Japan. In 'The Biology of the White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias'. Eds. A. P. Klimley & D. G. Ainley . Academic Press, San Diego CA USA, pp. 139-155; with interpretation of some litters following
Mollet, H. F., Cliff G., Pratt Jr., H. L. & Stevens J. D. (2000). Reproductive biology of the female shortfin mako, Isurus oxyrinchus Rafinesque, 1810, with comments on the embryonic development of lamnoids. US National Marine Fisheries Service Fishery Bulletin 98, 299-318. Download PDF.

Photograph Litter size TL embryo* (m) Mass embryo* (kg) TL fem. (m) M fem. (kg) Capture date Capture location Reference
  ? ~0 ~200 egg capsules in uteri suggesting blastodisc stage (Mollet et al. 2000, pdf) 5.55   16 Feb 1985 Kin, Okinawa, Japan Uchida et al. (1996)
Cc_images/EmbryoNov72008.jpg ? ~0.1: lateral view ?, eggcases were found also 5.42 1930 7 Nov 2008 Brought to Southern Bay Dock, Taiwan Victor Lin, pers. comm.
Cc_images/smallwhitetwo.jpg >=6

another photo

?, nutritive eggcases were photographed 4.5 > 900 14 Nov 2012 Caught off East coast of Taiwan. According to media reports, the fish dealer donated the embryos to the Fishery Faculty of National Taiwan Ocean University.

More recent pics of embryos provided by Hua Hsun HSU (May 2014)
Victor Lin, pers. comm.
  ? < 0.5
smaller than litter below
?     1995 to 1996 Offshore waters of
Tai-tung, Taiwan
Pan-Wen Hsueh pers. comm.
8 0.5-0.6 One embryo was conserved and is on display at re-opened museum in East Taiwan 7?
using M=2000 kg gives ~ 6m TL
~2000 13 Oct 1997

Set-net off Baisolane,Taiwan

Compare with porbeagle embryos;
Compare with salmon shark embryos:
Compare with shortfin mako embryos.

V. Lin, pers. comm.

Link for details

15 ~ 1 ? 4.7
4.42 Fork-length

est. total

20 Mar 2019 A pregnant female white shark was caught off eastern Taiwan. It was 4.7m long and gutted weight at auction was 1170 kg. The weight included the 15 midterm embryos discovered during gutting. Summary at
Victor Lin pers. comm. based upon Taiwan News.

>1 m; earlier 0.61 not correct


20.4 kg (45 lbs); earlier 45/9 = 5.4 kg not correct   2500? (from photo caption) Summer 1934 Alexandria, Egypt. In March 2016, Clinton Duffy's search thru the NZ National Library yielded an Auckland Star clipping (7 Sep 1934) which included 2 photos that indicated that the litter of 9 embryos was near-term rather than early-term. Norman & Fraser (1937); Ellis & McCosker (1991)
  7 0.8-1.2
my estimate
(16 feet)
(2866 lbs)
18 Jan 2007 Commercial fishermen in the East China Sea netted the pups’ 16-foot-long, 2,866-pound mother on Jan. 18. She was dead, but the seven pups found inside her still were alive and, although premature, were transported from the fishing dock in Yomitan to the Churaumi Aquarium at Ocean Expo Park in Nago.
“The mother shark was believed to have been between the middle and late stages of pregnancy.”

David Allen and Chiyomi Sumida, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Friday, January 26, 2007
    ~1.0       Feb-Mar 1988 Taiwan fish market D. A. Ebert
7 ~1.0-1.1   ~4.7   2 Apr 1986 Taiji, Wakayama, Japan Uchida et al. (1996)
Cc_images/SAKONNET+REAug1975.jpg ? 1.22 (48 inches) ? ? ? Aug 1976 Female was trapped in a fisherman's net off Skonnet RI Richard Ellis p.c.
  >7, possibly 17 ~1.1 10-20 ~6.4 >2200 16 Jul 1996
Austral mid-winter?

~10 km off Malindi, Kenya (03 13'S, 40 07'E)
From Cliff et al. (2000): "The fisherman indicated that at least 10 embryos were 'released' presumed aborted, while the shark was in the net." Thus 7 + 10 = 17.

Cliff et al. (2000)
Uchidaetal1996F02B.jpg 5 ~1.30   4.8   14 May 1992 Uchinoura, Kagoshima, Japan Uchida et al. (1996)
Cc_images/Saidietal2005Fig4.jpg 4 1.32-1.35 27.65-31.50 5.87 >2000 26 Feb 2004 Gulf of Gabès, southern Tunisia Saïdi et al. (2005)
Uchidaetal1996F04A.jpg 10 1.35-1.51
Mean 1.435
Mean 26.3
5.15   22 May 1992 Toyo, Kochi, Japan Uchida et al. (1996)
Francis1996F02A.jpg 7 1.43-1.45
(2 spec.)
>23.5-26.1 ~5.36;
~5.0 FL
1360 incl. 7 pups 13 Nov 1991 Austral mid-spring North Cape, New Zealand;
50 min. tape was taken by J. Bradley.
QuickTime video clip (~4 min/~10 MB) was prepared by Dave Powell. Video contains disturbing footage but this pregnant female provided valuable information on reproduction of white sharks.
Francis (1996)
  3-5 ~ 1.5   ~5.5   ~ 9 Nov 2003; Austral mid-spring Firth of Thames, about 2 km off the eastern end of Waiheke Island NZ The New Zealand Herald
Photograph Litter size TL embryo* (mm) Mass embryo* (kg) TL fem. (m) M fem. (kg) Capture date Capture location Reference

No reliable data is available of early- and mid-term embryos. Mollet et al. (2000, pdf) asssumed that the Kin, Okinawa, Japan specimen was early-term because of the presence of over 200 eggcases in the uteri and that the Alexandria (Egypt) specimen was mid-term. Thanks to efforts by Victor Lin, we now have data for an early-term and a second mid-term litter. Here I further assumed that parturtion in Northern and Southern Hemispheres are six months out of phase. Free-swimmers <~1.62 m TL from both hemispheres were included. Needs update with more recent information

2014 Publication by Christiansen et al. in PLOS One (PDF)

Created April 2002; revised March 2016. Back to previous page
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