Shark and Awe

Getting up-close and personal with these majestic, fierce predators of the deep isn’t difficult with breathtaking underwater moments captured by an intrepid few.

HOLE THROUGH THE BAITBALL
wildestanimalHOLE THROUGH THE BAITBALL

Between the months of May and July, billions of sardines spawn off the eastern coast of South Africa in a spectacular phenomenon known as the Sardine Run. In a defensive measure against predators, the fish form into massive balls, also known as bait balls.

Great white shark opens jaws at surface
George ProbstGreat white shark opens jaws at surface

A female great white shark opens her jaws so wide, her gill slits are visible. Great white sharks use their gills to filter oxygen from the water and have five gills on each side of their head.

Photographer George Probst aims to break the ‘Jaws’ shark stereotype. For more thrilling close-ups of sharks, visit his photostream.

Great White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias
Todd BretlGreat White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias

A great white off the coast of Guadalupe, Mexico pays no mind to the humans in the shark cages. While shark proof cages are extremely strong, they’re not foolproof. In 2005, British tourist Mark Currie was nearly killed when a great white attacked and broke through a portion of the cage he was in.

Sharks and Light
Todd BretlSharks and Light

A pair of Caribbean reef sharks bask in ethereal sunlight and appear to float with clouds in the sky. Caribbean reef sharks have been observed resting at the bottom of the sea or in caves and have been nicknamed ‘sleeping sharks.’

Great White Shark Attacking Decoy 4
bradleyvdwGreat White Shark Attacking Decoy 4

When hunting prey, a great white shark can exceed 35 mph with a short burst of speed while in attack mode. In this photo, a great white roars to the surface, its sights focused on a decoy.

Blue Shark - Azores
James R.D. ScottBlue Shark – Azores

‘Most adorable’ award goes to the blue shark with the fishy entourage. While it may look more puppy than fierce predator, don’t be fooled by the cuteness. Blue sharks are known for hunting in packs to herd their prey for easier feeding.

Great white shark bite
George ProbstGreat white shark bite

A male great white seizes a tuna head before shark wranglers can pull it away. This shark measured 13′-14′ in length when the photos was taken. What else do great white sharks eat? They prey on dolphins, whales, seals, sea lions, and even other sharks. The only natural predator to great whites? Killer whales.

Galapagos Sharks
ScottS101Galapagos Sharks

Galapagos sharks aren’t shy about swimming close to humans and have been known to be aggressive. They’re found worldwide, not just near the Galapagos Islands.

slash with mackerel
ScottS101slash with mackerel

If you look closely at the toothy grin of this great white shark, you can see multiple rows of serrated teeth. When one tooth breaks off, it has a backup tooth to replace it.

Grey Nurse Shark - South West Rocks
Rowland CainGrey Nurse Shark – South West Rocks

A grey nurse shark patrols a school of fish in eerie green waters off the coast of New South Wales, Australia. Also known as sand tiger sharks, the species is a cousin of the great white shark and are the only sharks known to gulp air from above the water’s surface.

To see more of these majestic underwater creatures, check out the Shark and Awe gallery.