Hammer Shark: Find This Species In Brazil, Is It Endangered?

The common name Hammer Shark represents a genus of shark whose main characteristic is the two projections on the sides of the head.

Hammer Shark: Find This Species In Brazil, Is It Endangered?
Hammer Shark: Find This Species In Brazil, Is It Endangered?

The projections are close to the eyes and nostrils, as well as being responsible for the common name of several species because in fact the fish look like a hammer.

In this sense, continue reading and understand all the characteristics of the animal, including distribution and curiosities.


  • Scientific name – Sphyrna lewini, S. mokarran, S. zygaena and S. tiburo;
  • Family – Sphyrnidae

Hammerhead Shark Species

First of all, know that the species that have this common name measure from 0.9 to 6 m.

Therefore, it is believed that there are 9 species in the genus, but we will talk about the best known:

Main species

First of all, it is interesting that you meet the Scalloped Hammerhead Shark (S. lewini).

The species has a greyish brown, bronze or olive color on the top of the body, as well as a pale yellow or white hue on the sides.

In this way, juveniles are different from adults because the tips of the pectoral, dorsal and lower caudal fins are black.

On the other hand, adults have a dark color only on the tips of the pectoral fins.

Among the characteristics that differentiate the species, understand that the head would be arched and marked by a prominent notch in the midline, which reminds us of the name “cut”.

And the pelvic fins have straight back margins.

On the other hand, get to know the Hammer head shark (S. mokarran) which is also commonly known as the head shark.

The species would be the largest hammerfish in the Sphyrnidae family because it can reach more than 6 m in total length and 450 kg in weight.

In this sense, the sharks of the species are important in the trade, as the fins are valued in the Asian market.

As a result, a large part of the shark population is decreasing every day, being an animal considered threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Too many species

We should also talk about the Smooth Hammerhead or Horned Shark (Sphyrna zygaena).

Individuals have a broad head on the side, as well as eyes and nostrils at the ends.

The characteristic that differentiates the species from the other members of the family would be the anterior curvature of the head.

In this way, when the shark is observed from above, it is possible to check such curvature.

It also has an interesting size, as it averages 2.5 to 3.5 m and can reach 5 m.

It is believed that individuals can live up to 20 years of age.

Finally, the Pala Shark (Sphyrna tiburo) would be one of the smallest species, considering that it reaches only 1.5 m.

Although it also goes by the Hammerhead Shark, the animal has a spade-shaped head.

As for the differences, understand that fish are shy and harmless to humans.

The species also has apparent sexual dimorphism, as females have a rounded head, while males have a bulge along the anterior margin of the cephalofoil.

Features of the Hammerhead Shark

There are characteristics that all Hammerhead Shark species have something that we will address in this topic.

First of all, know that fish have a hydrodynamic shape, a characteristic that allows for greater speed when turning their heads.

And speaking of the head, an important point is that many experts believed that the hammer shape helped the shark to get food.

This is because the animal would supposedly have greater precision when turning its head.

However, it was discovered that the precision is due to the fact that the vertebrae allow the animal to turn its head, that is, the shape offers no benefits in terms of precision.

But, don’t think the hammer shape wouldn’t be good.

This shape works like a wing and gives the fish a lot of stability when swimming.

In addition, the shape of the head helps the shark to have greater coverage of places using its sense of smell.

Thus, many researches indicate that the Hammerhead Shark has 10 times the ability to detect a particle in the water, when compared to other sharks.

Another body feature that improves the accuracy of this type of shark would be the electromagnetic sensors or “ampoules of Lorenzini”.

In a large location, sharks use the sensors to identify distant prey.

Also know that the mouths of individuals would be small and they have the habit of swimming in large numbers during the day, with a group of 100 sharks.

At night, fish prefer to swim alone.

Reproduction of the Hammerhead Shark

The reproduction of the Hammerhead Shark occurs every year and the females give birth to 20 to 40 young.

With this, the eggs stay inside the mother’s body for 10 to 12 months and the young are fed through an organ similar to the umbilical cord of mammals.

Soon after birth, the female and male abandon the young.


The species are large predators and eat other fish and sharks, as well as cephalopods, squid, and rays.

Therefore, you can eat sardines, mackerel and herring.

An important feature is that some species can eat marine plants.

Recently it was possible to verify that the bonnet shark can feed on marine plants, being an omnivorous fish.


Among the curiosities, it is interesting to mention the threat of extinction of the Hammerhead Shark species.

When considering all shark species, hammerheads are the most endangered. In 2003, the population corresponded to only 10% of the estimated number of animals in 1986.

Therefore, the appearance of individuals of the species would be something rare, like the shark that was seen in mainland Portugal, off Sagres.

Where to find the Hammerhead Shark

The species can inhabit regions with warm and temperate waters of all oceans.

Therefore, they prefer to stay close to continental shelf areas, so understand the distribution of the species that we mentioned above:

Species distribution

At first, the Hammerhead Shark may be present in the western Atlantic Ocean as in the United States, Mexico and Brazil.

With respect to the Eastern Atlantic, the species inhabits from the Mediterranean Sea to Namibia.

The distribution in the Indo-Pacific occurs from South Africa to the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, in regions of Japan, New Caledonia, Hawaii and Tahiti.

The panĂ£ shark is a solitary fish that lives in coastal areas and on the continental shelf.

But, it is not yet known which countries or regions the species inhabits.

Regarding the Smooth Hammerhead Shark , know that the animal is in the Atlantic Ocean.

And despite being tolerant of temperate waters, this species has the habit of making great migrations.

In this sense, the fish go to warmer waters during the winter and also migrate from warm to colder waters in the summer.

Finally, the Pala shark is in the Western Hemisphere.

In these regions the water has a higher temperature, around 20°C and the distribution varies from New England to the Gulf of Mexico and Brazil.

Therefore, we can include regions spanning from Southern California to Ecuador.

In this way, the shark stays in North America during the summer and migrates to places in South America in the spring and fall.

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