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Large Female Great White Shark

We spent three days watching Great Whites at Guadalupe Island. As is typical in early October all the sharks we saw were males, but on the last day this very large female swam by at a distance. (females get much larger than males) The crew judged her size at at least 16 feet and possibly bigger. Note the black and white pilot fish on her nose, which might indicate that she has just reached the island from open ocean. Since she never came too close this shot seemed to work better in black and white. Thanks for your comments.


Luigi De Vivo , October 10, 2007; 12:21 P.M.


Very good!!

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Alessandro Travagli , October 10, 2007; 12:44 P.M.


Hi Chuck, impressive image, so difficult and ... dangerous too. I'w eseen you have shoot with D200,why you have posted a B&W image,I think with colours shoul be more intense.;) Ciao Alex

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Svend Erik Poulsen , April 19, 2008; 01:20 P.M.

Would have given this 7/7 if i wasen't for that little stiped fishy at the tip of the sharks nose.

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Chuck Babbitt , April 20, 2008; 03:50 P.M.

Pilot Fish

I find that last comment sort of funny but I guess I understand. Actually the black and white pilot fish is an interesting thing about this shark. It was the only pilot fish we saw during the three days at the island and this was the only female shark. The females get much larger than the males and this shark was massive at probably 16 to 17 feet long and well over a ton. The male sharks arrive at Guadalupe Island before the females. Pilot fish are creatures of the open ocean where they accompany large fish, especially sharks, in a mutualist relationship, cleaning the shark of parasites while the shark intimidates other predators.

The pilot fish do not stay with the sharks in the shallow water around the island. Possibly there are just too many smaller predators for their liking or survival, or too much competition from the schools of scad mackerel (the fish near her tail in this photo) near the island. The presence of the pilot fish indicates that this shark just recently arrived at Guadalupe Island after her long and mysterious ocean voyaging.

Svend Erik Poulsen , April 26, 2008; 08:03 A.M.


I can see why the pilot fish is interesting seen from a behaviouristic point of view - but that was not what caught my eye in the first place. It was the big gloomy shark hanging there. At a closer look the pilot fish disrupted the overall impression of "The Picture" of "The Shark".

If i were a marine biologist i probably would have understood the significance of the pilot fish presence. My rating still stands, as my subjective opinion although it probably deserves a higher rating for the documentary value.

No offence intended

Still a powerful image.

Warm greetings Svend Erik

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