Pets and Animals

Scientists tracking potentially pregnant shark getting insight into behavior

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) - Scientists are getting a lot of insight into shark behavior this week after a great white made a U-turn off the North Carolina coast.

A great white shark in her mid to late twenties has been gong from Nantucket to the Gulf of Mexico and back on her yearly migration. The shark, known as Miss Costa, was tagged in 2016 by the shark-tracking group OCEARCH.

Since being tagged, Miss Costa has traveled over 8,100 miles. For the past month, Miss Costa has been traveling up the east coast, mainly sticking close to the shoreline near the Carolinas. Suddenly last week, the 1,700-pound shark made a sharp right turn, then a complete U-turn, heading into deeper waters. 

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This is where she was last pinged. Sharks, after being caught; are measured and tagged. The sharks have to surface for at least 90 seconds so the tag is "dry" and can send pings for its location. 

So, even though Miss Costa has been tracked for almost two years, signals are not received every day.

OCEARCH said it has seen other mature female sharks make a similar move in the past. Sometimes, those females have turned out to be pregnant.

Little is known about great white shark mating and reproduction. An actual birth has never been observed. 

So, only time will tell if Miss Costa is pregnant. Anyone that wants to track Miss Costa can click here. She also has her own Twitter.


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