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Spineback hammerhead vs great white shark

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The spine shark, also known as the silky shark, is a large shark in the family Carcharidae, with the scientific name "C. Sickle". Great white sharks, on the other hand, are scientifically known as Carcharodon carcharias and belong to the family Lamnidae. They are both well-known shark species with a large number of differences and characteristics, some of which we will explore in this article. Let's get started, shall we?

Comparing Spineback Sharks to Great White Sharks

spineback shark great white shark
size Length: 6ft-7.5ft
Weight: 400lbs-420lbs
Length: 18ft-26ft
Weight: 2,450lbs-4938lbs
appearance Sickle-shaped pectoral fin, relatively small dorsal fin, silky skin, dark brown/blue-gray dorsally, usually white ventrally Streamlined body, pointed nose, onyx eyes, crescent-shaped tail, dark gray to light gray dorsal sides, broad teeth.
location and habitat Location: Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans Habitat: Islands and continental shelves; deep sea Location: Indian, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans Habitat: Waters with sea surface temperatures; islands and continental shelves
diet Carnivorous: red crab, mackerel, squid, yellow croaker tuna, albacore tuna, etc. Carnivorous; whale carcasses, dolphins, sea lions, seals
Gestation and litter size Term: 12 months Litter size: up to 16 Term: 14 months Litter size: Average 9
life 23 years old 30 years

Key Differences Between Spineback Sharks and Great White Sharks

The main difference between spineback sharks and great white sharks is their size, appearance, and diet. We'll examine these differences, along with other contrasting details and features, below.

Spineback vs. Great White: Size

great white shark jumping out of water
Great white sharks can reach lengths of up to 20 feet.

©Alexyz3d/Shutterstock.com

The size of the spineback shark and the great white shark vary greatly, with the great white shark being the dominant species. Spineback sharks can reach lengths of 6 to 7.5 feet and weigh an incredible 400 to 420 pounds. However, it almost pales in comparison to great whites, which measure between 18 and 26 feet in length and weigh between 2,450 and 4,938 pounds.

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Spineback vs. Great White: Appearances

Spinebacks and great whites also differ somewhat in appearance, even though they are both sharks. Spineback sharks are known for their small dorsal fins (first and second dorsal fins) and sickle-shaped pectoral fins. Additionally, it has a dark brown/blue-gray dorsal side and a mostly white ventral side.

The great white shark, on the other hand, has an incredibly large and streamlined body, a pointed snout, a large dorsal fin, and a crescent-shaped tail. They also have onyx-colored eyes, dark/light gray dorsal sides, and whitish bellies.

Spineback Sharks vs. Great White Sharks: Locations and Habitats

Spineback and great white sharks, like most other species, can be found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. However, there are some nuances in their preferred habitats and temperatures.

Back sharks prefer temperatures above 23°C and they mostly live on islands and continental shelves. Great white sharks also love islands and continental shelves, preferring depth and warmer parts of the ocean surface.

Spineback vs. Great White Sharks: Diet

Silky shark swimming in the Bahamas
The spineback shark's diet consists of red crab and mackerel.

©Matt9122/Shutterstock.com

The spineback and great white sharks are known to be carnivorous, as are most shark species. However, there are some differences in their actual diets. Adult spineback sharks prefer red crabs and mackerel, while juveniles prefer large squid and the like. Meanwhile, young great whites love stingrays and squid, but once they reach adulthood, they prey on large marine mammals such as seals, sea lions, dolphins and dead whales.

Spineback vs. Great White Sharks: Gestation Period and Litter Size

Spineback sharks have an interesting reproductive process, with males usually mating with multiple females, whereas spineback sharks that live in tropical waters do not have a breeding season, which means they can mate year-round. However, those fish that live in warm temperate waters have a fixed breeding season. Males also release pheromones, but pheromones do not affect social structure. Females have an average incubation period of 12 months and can produce up to 16 pups. Additionally, spineback sharks are viviparous, giving birth to live pups which are then nourished via the placenta.

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Not much can be said about how great white sharks reproduce, except that they are ovoviviparous, meaning that the fertilized eggs remain inside the female to develop. Gestation takes an average of 14 months, and mothers can give birth to an average of nine pups at a time.

Spineback vs. Great White: Lifespan

great white shark
The lifespan of a great white shark is 40 years.

© iStock.com/Elizabeth Hoffman

The average life span of spineback sharks and great white sharks is also different. The spineback shark can be expected to live up to 23 years on average, while the great white can live up to 30-40 years, making them a more persistent species.

Spineback vs. Great White Sharks: Conservation Status

The spineback and great white sharks are listed on the IUCN Red List along with many other shark species. However, they have different protection status. The spineback shark is listed as "endangered," while the great white is listed as "vulnerable." This puts the great white shark ahead in terms of likelihood of extinction.

For clarity, "Near Threatened" species are those that may face extinction in the future but remain strong, while "Vulnerable" species have moved beyond "Near Threatened" and are at risk of extinction if appropriate measures are not taken.

Next:

  • Silky Shark Facts
  • 8 Sharks in the Indian Ocean
  • 10 Sharks Off Central Florida Beaches

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