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Species: Heterodontus mexicanus, Mexican horn shark

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eye crest ends gradually
weakly concave between eyes
pale bar between eyes
body spots > 1/2 eye
D1 origin over pectoral
skin denticles large, rough

Heterodontus mexicanus Taylor & Castro-Aguirre, 1972

Mexican horn shark

A slender-bodied shark with an enlarged squarish head and pig-like snout; low bony ridge above each eye that ends gradually rear; space between eyes shallowly concave; nostrils without barbels; with grooves around the nostrils and connected to the mouth; anterior nasal flaps elongate posteriorly; small mouth; front teeth with 3 similar sized points, enlarged molariform teeth posteriorly; both dorsal fins with a sharp spine; origin of first dorsal fin over pectoral fin base; skin denticles on flank large (70-130/cm2  in adults) and rough.

Grey-brown, usually with scattered large (> ½ eye diameter) black spots on fins and body; a pale bar between eyes; 1-2 indistinct dusky blotches below eye.

Size: reaches 70 cm.

Habitat: rocky to sandy bottoms.

Depth: 1-50 m.

Southern Baja to Peru.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom only
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Sand & gravel
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Bony fishes
  • No Data
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
Egg Type
  • No data
  • No pelagic phase
  • No pelagic larva
  • Benthic
Global Endemism
  • East Pacific endemic
  • All species
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
Regional Endemism
  • 3 provinces (Cortez + Mexican + Panamic) endemic
  • Island (s)
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • All species
  • Continent
  • TEP endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
IUCN Red List
  • Data deficient
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 70
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 50