This shark’s behavior and social structures are not well understood. In South Africa, white sharks have a dominant hierarchy depending on size, sex, and territorial rights: Females dominate males, larger sharks dominate smaller sharks, and individuals have long lived in a newly arrived individual dominated area. When hunting, white sharks have a tendency to separate and conflict with rituals and displays. White sharks are rarely used for combat although some individuals have been found with bites from other white sharks. This suggests that when two individuals get too close together, they react with a warning bite. Another possibility is that white sharks bite to show their dominance.

Great white shark bites the head of a fish used to lure bait next to a cage in False Bay, South Africa
The great white shark is one of the few sharks known to regularly raise their head above the sea to look at other objects such as prey. This is called a spy jump. This behavior has also been seen in at least one group of blackfin sharks, but this can be learned from human interactions (in theory that the sharks can also smell better because the scent moves in the air is faster than water). The white shark is usually a very curious, quite intelligent animal and can also turn to socialization if the situation requires it. At Seal Island, white sharks have been observed to and depart in the steady “clans” of two to six individuals on an annual basis. In fact, the social structure of a clan is perhaps the most suitable for a pack of wolves; in which each member has a clearly established rank and each herd has a leader. When members of different clans meet, they establish nonviolent social ranking through any interaction.

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