A massive great white shark — likely weighing 1,200 pounds — was spotted in the Gulf of Mexico this week, and scientists say it may not be the only one.
The massive shark has been dubbed Miss Costa by Ocearch, a non-profit research organization. According to a press release published on Tuesday, Ocearch is tracking Miss Costa around the Gulf of Mexico. She was spotted right off the coast of Panam City, Florida this week, though she was first noticed entering the Gulf of Mexico at the beginning of the month.
Miss Costa is reportedly the third great white shark to make the journey outside of its normal migratory patterns and into the Gulf recently. According to Ocearch, Miss Costa is between 14 and 15 feet long today. In 2016, she was tagged near Nantucket, Massachusetts, where she was measured at 12 feet, 5 inches long. The other two unlikely visitors to the Gulf of Mexico were dubbed Nova and Cabot. Unconfirmed reports from fishermen in Pensacola, Florida also claimed that a great white shark was hooked in February.
you all are making me blush. ive had so many humans give me warm welcomes during my visit to the gulf. thank you pic.twitter.com/IBGzUaimyr— Miss Costa (@MissCostaShark) April 19, 2019
In the days since her sighting, Miss Costa has picked up a massive following on social media. Both the verified Twitter account of Ocearch and a fan account for Miss Costa have seen a huge surge in followers, with the shark herself having over 14,000 loyal followers. Her posts range from educational to entertaining, and show a unique mastery of online language for an aquatic creature.
"For real, so many boys down here in the gulf," read one post. "All of puffin up their chests & flashing toothy smiles. Well it’s gonna take more than that to impress me. Hint boys... try being genuine."
As massive as Miss Costa is, she is not even the biggest shark spotted in 2019. Back in January, divers in Oahu, Hawaii encountered a female great white that measured about 22 feet long. Since then, experts have all but confirmed that the shark was Deep Blue, a massive female that has been seen on a few occasions before.
for real, so many boys down here in the gulf. all of puffin up their chests & flashing toothy smiles. Well it’s gonna take more than that to impress me. Hint boys....try being genuine pic.twitter.com/5bqZ0oud71— Miss Costa (@MissCostaShark) April 16, 2019
Deep Blue is well-known among researchers and enthusiasts alike, as her sighting sometimes makes national news. She was also the subject of a feature on Discovery's Shark Week several years ago, and continues to fascinated marine researchers.
This time around, Deep Blue intruded on the scene where a group of Tiger Sharks were feeding on the remains of a sperm whale. The massive predator was reportedly slow and gentle, and researchers speculated from her girth that she was pregnant again. Spectacular photos of the encounter were published at the time.