Massive great white shark Unama'ki spotted south of Miami

Unama'ki seen just below the surface here.
Unama'ki seen just below the surface here. (Image credit: Robert Snow/Ocearch)

One of the largest great white sharks ever tagged was just spotted swimming south of Miami, Florida, according to NBC Miami

Unama'ki "pinged" at 5:46 a.m. ET off of Key Largo, south of Miami on Thursday (Nov. 5) , which means that its dorsal fin broke the surface of the water, sending a signal to a satellite, alerting researchers of its whereabouts, according to a previous article from Florida Today

Unama'ki was first tagged in Nova Scotia in September; in the indigenous language of the Mi'kmaq people, her name means "land of the fog." With a length of 15 feet and 5 inches (4.7 meters) and a weight of 2,076 pounds (942 kilograms), she is the second largest white shark ever tagged by Ocearch, a nonprofit organization that tags and tracks large marine animals. 

Related: Image gallery: Great White sharks

But she's not the only impressive beast out there. Great white sharks are the largest predatory fish on the planet and grow to an average of 15 feet (4.6 m), according to National Geographic. Some have been found to weigh up to 5,000 Ibs. (2,268 kg) and to grow to more than 20 feet (6 m).

Over a month ago, researchers with Ocearch also discovered and tagged a 17-foot-long (5 m) heavy female great white shark — weighing 3,541 lbs. (1,606 kg) — off the coast of Nova Scotia that they called the "queen of the ocean," according to a previous Live Science report. She was officially named Nukumi, after a legendary wise grandmother figure from the indigenous Mi'kmaq people.

Great whites are classified as "vulnerable" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. As top predators of the ocean, "great white sharks are central to the functioning of ecosystems and the maintenance of biodiversity," according to Ocearch. 

Researchers hope that Unama'ki will lead them to a site where she gives birth and thereby reveal a previously unknown white shark nursery, according to Ocearch

But great white shark whereabouts aren't always clear. The majestic sea creatures can only be tracked once they break the surface, and each shark tends to spend a different amount of time at the surface, according to Ocearch.

You can track Unama'ki's whereabouts, or at least every time she breaks the surface, here

Originally published on Live Science.

Yasemin Saplakoglu
Staff Writer

Yasemin is a staff writer at Live Science, covering health, neuroscience and biology. Her work has appeared in Scientific American, Science and the San Jose Mercury News. She has a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Connecticut and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.