Scalloped hammerhead

Species images and information provided by Encyclopedia of Life

Scientific Name:

Sphyrna lewini (Griffith and Smith, 1834)

Common Names:

scalloped hammerhead, Bronze hammerhead shark, Hammerhead, Hammerhead shark, Kidney-headed shark, Scalloped hamerhead, Scalloped hammer head, Scalloped hammerhead shark, Shark, Southern hammerhead shark, gebuchteter Hammerhai

More about this critter:

Forming impressively large schools, female scalloped hammerheads gather in the Gulf of California during the day, around underwater mountains known as seamounts, where they perform a wide range of poorly-understood behaviours (2). These aggregations are thought to be a result of many sharks, particularly younger females, seeking refuge in a safe place near a rich food supply, although many alternative theories have been put forward (5). Young scalloped hammerheads also tend to live in large schools, whereas adults usually occur singly, in pairs, or in small groups (2). These sharks feed on fish, cephalopods, lobsters, shrimps, crabs, other sharks, and rays. They are thought to be potentially dangerous to humans although few attacks have been recorded (3). The teeth of the scalloped hammerhead are best suited to seizing prey that can be swallowed whole, rather than ripping into larger prey. The hammer-shaped head is thought to be a mechanism to spread out the ampullae of Lorenzini ??? sensory organs that detect electric currents, chemicals in the water, and temperature changes (5). Larger shark species may attack young scalloped hammerheads, but adults have no natural enemies. Adults visit cleaning stations where fish known as cleaner wrasse remove parasites from their skin and mouths (2). During the 9 to 10 month gestation, the eggs of the scalloped hammerhead hatch inside the body of the female. After hatching, but before birth, they are nourished by a yolk sac placenta. The female moves to shallow waters during the summer where she will give birth to between 15 and 31 live young (3).

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