The behavioral pattern of female Pacific white sharks has always been a mystery. Their male counterparts undergo annual round-trip migrations between the coastal mating areas and the deep ocean, while female sharks are only seen visiting the mating areas every two years. Where are the females for the rest of the year?
A two-year study using satellite-linked, long duration radio transmission tags has worked to answer that question. Researchers tagged four female white sharks at mating site at Guadalupe Island, Mexico and tracked their movements. The study revealed the lifestyle of the female white shark.They grouped the female great white sharks migration into four phases. The first is gestation phase, where the females remain far off shore for 18 month period of time. The second is pupping phase, when the sharks gave birth to their next generation. Third was transitional phase, where the sharks moved from the pupping site back to near the mating site. The final aggregation phase showed fully mature female sharks arriving back at the Guadalupe Island mating site, where they were seen for up to four and a half months before the two-year cycle began again.
These findings also shed some light on why the female sharks may want to stay away from male sharks when not mating. Scientists have noted that the aggression males shown to fight over food or females or both, can lead to injuries to the females.