Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Sphyrna zygaena, Smooth Hammerhead, Smooth Hammerhead Shark

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hammer: wide, center convex (no notch)
D1 moderately large, erect
teeth oblique, weakly serrated, similar both jaws
D2 & pelvics small
pelvics not notched

Sphyrna zygaena (Linnaeus, 1758)

Smooth Hammerhead, Smooth Hammerhead Shark

A hammerhead shark with broad, narrow-blade lateral extensions on the head; width of hammer 26-29% of TL; front margin of head broadly convex, with prominent side indentations, but no central indentation; teeth similar in both jaws, oblique, deeply notched on rear side, weakly serrate in adults, rear teeth like front teeth; nostrils short, before eyes on head plane; five gill slits, last one over pectoral; 2 dorsal fins, first moderately large and erect, its rear margin concave, its free rear tip not reaching above level of pelvics; origin of second dorsal fin slightly behind origin of anal fin; free rear tip of 2nd dorsal ends well before tail fin base; second dorsal and pelvic fins low, rear edge of pelvic ~ straight; anal fin with rear margin prominently notched; 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.

Dark olive to dark grey-brown on back and sides, white below; undersides of pectoral fin tips dusky.

Grows to 400 cm; reaches 25 y.

A coastal-pelagic and semi-oceanic hammerhead often sighted near the surface.

Depth: 0-200 m.

Circumglobal in tropical and temperate seas; Canada to Argentina.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • In & Offshore
  • Inshore
  • Offshore
Water Column Position
  • Mid Water
  • Near Bottom
  • Water column only
  • Water column
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • 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 only
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Vulnerable
  • Appendix II
  • Listed
Length Max
  • 400
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 200