Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Sphyrna mokarran, Great Hammerhead, Great Hammerhead Shark

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

hammer = wide blade, front straight + slight center notch
D1 very tall, pointed, curved
teeth serrated
pelvics - rear edge v concave

Sphyrna mokarran (Rüppell, 1837)

Great Hammerhead, Great Hammerhead Shark

A large hammerhead shark with broad, side extensions on the head forming a blade-like hammer (width 23-27% of TL); front margin of head nearly straight in adults, more rounded in juveniles, with shallow central and side indentations; teeth triangular, strongly serrated, lower teeth straight, upper teeth oblique & deeply notched on rear side, rear teeth like front teeth; five gill slits, last one over pectoral; first dorsal fin very tall and curved, with pointed tip; second dorsal fin large, height > length of 3rd gill slit; second dorsal and anal fins with strongly notched rear edges, their bases about equal; pelvics large, with strongly concave rear borders; transverse pit above tail base crescent shaped, a pit below tail base; tail fin strongly asymmetrical, notched under tip of top lobe, large lower lobe.

Grey brown on back and sides, whitish below; no markings on fins.

Reaches 610 cm.

A coastal pelagic and semi-oceanic species.

Depth range: 1-300 m.

World-wide in coastal and offshore warm temperate and tropical seas; North Carolina to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • In & Offshore
  • Inshore
  • Offshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Mid Water
  • Near Bottom
  • Near Surface
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Water column
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Bentho-Pelagic
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Sharks/rays
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Live birth
  • No pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Critically endangered
  • Listed
  • Appendix II
  • Listed
Length Max
  • 610
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 300