Gaping Jaws of a Great White Shark

Preview A great white shark gaping its jaws at the surface of the water; gaping is used as a form of communication in sharks
(© Alison Kock, Save Our Seas)

A great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) emerges from the water's surface, gaping at the photographer. Gaping is a way sharks communicate with each other, and maybe even try and communicate with humans.

In addition to gaping, sharks have six highly refined senses for both hunting and communication: smell, hearing, touch, taste, sight, and electromagnetism. These finely honed senses coupled with a sleek, torpedo-shaped body make most sharks, not just the great white, highly skilled hunters. They often serve as top predators-keeping populations of prey species in check. Removing sharks in large numbers can have ripple effects that throw entire ecosystems out of balance.

Learn more about human threats to sharks and read more about the great white shark's biology, habitat, and status in the Great White Shark section.