Fishermen in Taiwan accidentally caught a large great white shark pregnant with record 14 pups. Unfortunately, the animal was sold at a fish market and its abdomen cut.
The captured great white measured more than 15 feet long, which is bigger than a small car. Images from local news agencies also show it has unborn pups that looked nearly fully developed.
Sharks this size are not the ones fishers want in their nets. George Burgess, director emeritus of the Florida Program for Shark Research at the University of Florida, said the animal may have been trapped in a set net.
This is a big net in the water that can catch everything that swims in that area. Those that swim in do not swim out.
The shark was bought by marine taxidermy company called the Taiwan Ocean Art Museum for less than $2,000. Burgess said the animal was likely bought for its jaw because the jaw is worth a lot of money for collectors.
The shark was reportedly sold by the pound, which means the rest of the animal was sold for consumption.
Record Number Of Pups
Shark experts say the 14 pups the shark was carrying is likely a record number for the species. It is also rare to catch pregnant white sharks.
Burgess said the highest number of pups he could remember for a great white was 12.
The marine biologist said great white sharks have two uteri on each side, so he thinks the pregnant shark was carrying seven pups in each uterus.
The pups may look likely they were nearly fully developed and seem ready to swim in the open ocean if their mother had not been killed.
Burgess, however, said the pups are not ready to be born yet. He explained that baby sharks start to look like small adult sharks very early on in their development.
"While they're in Mom, they're eating unfertilized eggs, and that's how they get big and fat," Burgess said.