The ocean’s pelagic alpha predators — Great White, Oceanic Whitetip, Longfin Mako, and Blue sharks — are notoriously press shy, which is why scientists use electronic tags to track individual sharks as they migrate over vast distances. This data is invaluable to researchers and fascinating for civilians who, as a fringe benefit of the work being done by the marine science organization Ocearch, can follow tagged Selachimorpha on Twitter. Still, not all sharks are worth following. Some sharks are way more interesting than others — Nurse Sharks, for instance, just sort of chill.
These seven earned their celebrity status by hanging out with the right crowd, getting into the occasional trouble, and — of course — by hiring top notch social media teams.
Mary Lee might be the world’s most famous shark. Measuring 16 feet and weighing in at nearly 3,500 pounds, she is a sight to behold. The great white shark always makes headlines on her regular trips to Jersey Shore, and has been spotted vacationing as far away as Bermuda. Her favorite food is sushi — always fresh.
Mary Lee may be glamourous, but Lydia is a true athlete. She was the first great white shark known to have swum across the Atlantic Ocean. Scientists suspected such a transit was possible, and she proved them right. She headed off towards the UK coast in search of a good meal, and hopefully she wasn’t disappointed. Lydia mourned Prince’s death along with the rest of the world last month. The Sharknado franchise is her guilty pleasure.
Tabloids lit up this month with news that Katharine the great white shark could be pregnant. The 2,300-pound, 14-foot great white turns heads wherever she goes. The rumor is that she recently traveled to Florida, and the paparazzi are keeping cameras at the ready to steal a shot.
Maroochy is — or was — a 500-pound Australian tiger shark. She met her untimely end this month off the coast of Queensland on a baited drum line as part of a shark control program. The state kills 200-300 tiger sharks each year in an effort to save surfers from shark attacks. It hardly seems balanced — tiger sharks only kill about one human a year in Western Australia. Maroochy was named for a high profile Australian aboriginal elder and singer. Friends and fans of the shark gathered on Facebook to mourn her passing. Her fate feels very much like a morality tale about the high cost of fame.
Buddy is a relative newcomer to the scene, but you can be sure he’s destined for great things. He was the first scalloped hammerhead shark tagged by Ocearch, and though he weighs just 170 pounds, he’s got plenty of style. Judging by Buddy’s Twitter account, he has made fast friends with Einstein the hammerhead, and might have a crush on Finley the tiger shark. (Sorry, dude, she’s way out of your species.)
Chessie has earned her 40,000 Twitter followers with sassy comments and a penchant for social justice. She’s a 1,200-pound tiger shark from the East Coast, but she’d prefer if you kept your comments about her weight to yourself. Although Chessie is a fierce activist for shark rights, she also has a soft spot for landlubber humans, as evidenced by her several tweets thanking veterans for their service on Memorial Day.
Finley is a 361-pound female tiger shark who mostly likes to hang out off the coast of Texas. She’s a southern belle with a penchant for warm water and home cooking. Lately she’s been getting into Discovery’s Shark Week, which is, TBH, her favorite.Photos via LWP Kommunikacio/Flickr