Katharine, the great white shark, recently returned to the Florida coastline, and it now appears that she may have some company from her own species, as another, far larger shark, Mary Lee, approaches the space coast.
Ocearch researchers have been keeping tabs on Mary Lee since September of 2012, when she was tagged in Cape Cod, according to WESH. Coincidentally, Katharine was tagged in the same region, though the two white sharks are very different. While Katharine is 14-feet-long, weighing in at 2,300 pounds, Mary Lee is a much larger white shark, a full two feet longer and tipping the scales at 3,400 pounds.
— OCEARCH (@OCEARCH) February 1, 2015
Katharine has remained in a striking coastal pattern ever since she was tagged, as USA Today notes, venturing into the Gulf of Mexico last year before returning eventually to Cape Cod. Mary Lee, by contrast, makes her home primarily off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina, aside from a notable trip to the middle Atlantic, which took her past Bermuda, and another excursion that brought the great white north to New Jersey waters.
Late last year, Katharine set a decisive course from her summer home in the cape that brought the white shark first to the Outer Banks, and then to Florida, as the Inquisitr previously reported. The shark’s path took her through Mary Lee’s territory, and it appears the larger great white may have taken notice.
— OCEARCH (@OCEARCH) February 3, 2015
On January 31, Mary Lee signaled from the Florida-Georgia line, on a course set to take her south. Katharine, meanwhile, was detected near New Smyrna Beach, and the smaller great white has since lingered in that area.
Though Katharine signaled from just 600 yards off the Canaveral National Seashore, researchers caution that the data relayed from tags attached to the sharks can sometimes exhibit errors of a mile or more. Even if the white sharks were close to beaches, however, scientists assert that swimmers have little to fear from them, as there has never been a documented great white attack off Florida.
Recently, Katharine passed her 10,000th mile of travel since she was first tagged in August of 2013. While the tags fitted to the white sharks are revealing dramatic new information about their migratory patterns, perhaps the most striking bit of data is the fact that the great whites are all individual, exhibiting their own unique habits as they cruise through the oceans.
Though it is unclear where Mary Lee’s course will take her, time will tell how close she will come to her fellow great white shark.
[Image via Vulgaire]