March 31, 2023
It’s incredible that we are still able to track Miss Costa, as we studied her in September 2016. The average battery life for a SPOT tag lasts typically up to 5 years and we now have over 6 years of amazing data from her. When we sampled, tagged and released Miss Costa she was a sub-adult shark weighing in just over 1,000 lbs and was 12 ft and 2 in long. We have since watched her movements as she has grown into adulthood. We hope that her tag continues to send us signals as it’s already past its estimated battery life.
Miss Costa’s movement far into the North Atlantic is consistent with our hypothesis that mature male and female white sharks gather off the Carolinas and nearby areas during late winter and early spring to mate. Once mating has occurred, our hypothesis is that the pregnant female sharks then make offshore runs towards the Mid-Atlantic Ridge while their young are gestating. We’ve seen three other of our large, mature females make these offshore runs during this time frame – Unama’ki, Nukumi and Lydia. The females could be leaving for a variety of reasons, one being to get away from males after mating. Mating is a rough process for white sharks and once a female has gone through this and is pregnant, she likely wants to avoid being harassed by other males.
During our upcoming expedition, Expedition Northbound, we are heading to the waters off North Carolina, near where Miss Costa last pinged before making her offshore move. We hope to study mature white sharks just before or after mating. Among our other studies, we hope to collect hormone data from mature white sharks that can help confirm if this region is a white shark mating site.
We will continue to keep a close eye on Miss Costa to see if she crosses the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, like Nukumi did in 2021. We predict that after Miss Costa hangs offshore in this region she will return back west towards the US and Canada and will not continue on towards Europe.
Track Miss Costa: https://www.ocearch.org/tracker/detail/miss-costa
Miss Costa was named by our longtime partner Costa Sunglasses!