“Lydia” is captivating the world, becoming the first great white shark to be tagged and monitored for a large migration across the Atlantic Ocean. For decades in the scientific community and seemingly centuries in cultures around the world, great whites have alluded scientific understanding due to their intimidating massive size and reputation as violent human predators. However, within the last few years marine biologists have grown to understand these giant creatures more intimately, and were able to bring a shark onboard and tag it for scientific tracking. Lydia, with her ground breaking voyage from Florida to England has captured the hearts of Europeans and Americans, some scientists speculate she is also pregnant and may head to warmer waters in the Mediterranean, further adding sentiment to her story.
The great white is almost 15 feet long, weighing roughly 2,000 pounds, researchers discovered as Lydia was tagged off the coast of Jacksonville, FL., about one year ago. The Ocearch scientific project, led by Gregory Skomal, senior biologist of Massachusetts Marine Fisheries, landed a GPS-tracking device on Lydia, and have tracked the shark for more than 19,500 miles. It has been reported Sunday, March 9, the great white was swimming near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, roughly 1000 miles off the coast of the United Kingdom and 3,000 miles from the coast of USA’s Florida.
Ocearch scientists need Lydia to cross the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in order for their feat to be recognized by the international scientific community. Although marine biologists agree she is headed for United Kingdom waters, it seems unlikely she will swim close to land, as UK great white shark reports are seemingly non-existent. Some forums have begun speculating that the shark will head to the warmer waters of the Mediterranean or turn back to Florida at any moment. These speculations are facilitated by the belief the shark may be pregnant, since some of the largest migrations in animals are for pilgrimages to suitable birthing grounds. These speculations may be possible, but at the moment they are still merely speculations. It is evident, however, that the great white shark is captivating the world.
The data received from the shark’s movements will create significant gains in shark biology, shark conservation, pubic awareness and education. Great white sharks, for an extending period in history, have been believed to be mindless killers with only the instinct to kill and consume. Since then, marine biologists understand sharks are naturally curious predators and will often take bite samples, followed by releasing their prey. Although the bite factor is intimidating, it does admit that anyone has a decent chance of surviving a great white attack.
Great white sharks are the largest predatory fish on Earth, with an average size of 15 feet in length, while weighing up to 5,000 pounds. Their white and grey bodies mimic the coastal sea floor, with their powerful tails propelling them like torpedoes up to speeds of 15 miles per hour. Great white have been seen to breach the surface of the water and hover completely airborne while making a kill. These intelligently adapted predators have jaws aligned with 300 serrated teeth, that grow back constantly throughout their lives and are known for their extreme sense of smell and ability to never develop cancer cells. Lydia is helping bring awareness to the world of how beautiful these marine animals truly are, as the great white shark is captivating the world.
Editorial By Zane Foley