First tumour detected on great white

THE first documented case of a tumour on a great white shark has been found on a shark at Neptune Islands.

The tumour was photographed on the shark by Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions during a trip this year and it measured roughly 30 centimetres in length.

Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions researcher Andrew Fox said it was the first tumour to be documented on a great white shark.

He said he was reluctant to say the tumour was cancerous until he was able to collect a sample to have a biopsy.

"This was the first recorded case of a tumour in a great white," he said.

Mr Fox said after the shark was spotted with the tumour, near its mouth, the shark was affectionately dubbed "santa".

He said he hoped he could find the shark on another research trip so he was able to take a sample of the tumour and get it tested.

"We have seen him several times," he said.

"We haven't seen him for about six months.

"The tumour is obviously the most distinctive feature on the shark.

"He may even be an old shark we have seen and photographed before."

Mr Fox said he had also photographed a bronze whaler shark with a tumour mass on its head.

By Kimberlee Meier

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