Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

Español  Contact

Species: Sphyrna gilberti, Carolina Hammerhead, Carolina Hammerhead Shark

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

hammer = wide blade, front convex + central notch
D1 moderately large, erect
teeth smooth
pelvics: rear edge straight
externally = S. lewini

Sphyrna gilberti Quattro et al, 2013

Carolina Hammerhead, Carolina Hammerhead Shark

Head with broad hammer (width 24-30% of TL), narrow-bladed side extensions on the head; front margin of head broadly convex, and scalloped due to a prominent middle indentation, a more conspicuous notch near the end of each side of the hammer (which sets off the end lobe bearing the eye), and a slight indentation in front margin between the central and side notches on each side; teeth smooth; front teeth blade-like, with 1 point, upper teeth oblique, deeply notched on rear side, lower teeth straight, rear teeth like front teeth; five gill slits, last one over pectoral; first dorsal fin moderately large and erect, free rear tip not reaching level of pelvic origin; 2nd dorsal fin low but long, free rear tip nearly reaching caudal fin; base of anal fin noticeably longer than that of second dorsal fin; pelvics with ~ straight rear edge; 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 above, fading to white below; underside tip of pectoral white to dusky (60% of fish dusky); lower lobe of tail fin with dusky to black tip.

Size: at least 45cm, but undoubtedly much larger

Habitat: coastal.

Depth: 0-50 m.

South Carolina to Trinidad

Note: Genetically distinct from S lewini; currently the only morphological feature that distinguishes these two is the number of vertebrae on the trunk of the body: 85 (83-91) in S gilberti, 95 (92-99) in S lewini. The two species are known to hybridize and produce fertile offspring.

High Resolution Map Download

Species Data Create Report Export as Word File Export as Excel File
  • Brackish
  • Hypersaline
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Near Bottom
  • Water column
  • Estuary
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Bentho-Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Sharks/rays
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Live birth
  • No pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • GC endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Critically endangered
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 45
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 50