Classification Information!
The Great White Shark:
Carcharodon carchariasText Box: 	The scientific name of the Great White Shark is Carcharodon carcharias, but it has not always been that way. The oldest known name for the Great White Shark was Squalus carcharias which was named by Carolus Linnaeus back in the 1780’s. Later, scientists realized that the name had to be changed because Squalus can refer to a number of different shark species. The species name Carcharodon was introduced in the 1830’s by Sir Andrew Smith, but was not paired with Linnaeus’s species name until approximately 1870. Then, the Great White Shark’s species name was finalized as Carcharodon carcharias, which stems from the Greek word ‘karcharos’, meaning sharp or jagged, and ‘odous’ meaning tooth. Also in Greek, the species name carcharias, means point, which leads to its common name ‘White Pointer’ which is popular in Australia (ICHTHOS, 2002).

Phylogenetic Tree of the

Carcharodon carcharias

Text Box:     
	The phylogenetic tree above is based on the morphology of the 	Carcharodon carcharias, and its relatives. The closest relative that 	the Great White Shark had was the Carcharodon megalodon, or the 	Megatooth Shark. I say ‘had’ because unfortunately, the Megatooth 	Shark is extinct. The Megatooth Shark was believed to be around 43 	feet long, averaging about 20 tons, with a mouth full of extremely 	large, razor sharp teeth. It was so large, that it fed on large baleen 	whales! (ICHTHOS, 2002)

Tooth of a Carcharodon megalodon

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Photo by Linda Reese



Multi-cellular, each containing a nucleus, and has membrane bound organelles.



Multicellular, heterotrophic, and lack cell and walls.



Possesses a dorsal nerve chord, post-anal tail, and an endostyle, it is bi-laterally symmetrical, and shows pharyngeal structures.



Lack true bone other than teeth & sometimes the vertebrae, have a cartilaginous skeleton. Also possess 5-7 gill slits on each side of the body.



Possesses an anal fin, two dorsal fins, its mouth behind its eyes, five gill slits, and nictitating eye membrane is absent.



Possesses a conical hear, deep chest, symmetrical tail, very large gill slits, and teeth are similar on both jaws.



The great white is the only member of the  Carcharodon genus at this time, but means “rough tooth” or referred to ‘man-eater’.


Carcharodon carcharias    

Triangular, serrated teeth, white underbody w/ grey on top, black eyes, with no pupil visible.