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 Great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran)

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Great hammerhead
© Jeremy Stafford Deitsch
 Range Map

Earth Map


Phylum: Vertebates (Chordata)

Class: Carlilagenous Fishes (Chondrichthyes)
  Order: Ground sharks (Carcharhiniformes)
    Family: Bonnethead sharks (Sphyrnidae)
      Genus: Sphyrna (Sphyrna)


Scientific: Sphyrna mokarran
German: Grosser Hammerhai
English: Great hammerhead
French: Grand requin-marteau
Spanish: Cornuda gigante


Very large hammerhead shark. Anterior head margin nearly straight, with a median indentation. First dorsal fin very long, erect and falcate with the rear tip in front of the pelvic fin"s origin. Second dorsal fin is high with a concave posterior margin. Falcate pelvic fins.


Bronze to grey-brown with white ventral surface. Adults have no markings on fins, while in juveniles the second dorsal fin tip is dusky colored.


Circumtropical. Western Atlantic: North Carolina to Brazil, Gulf of Mexico, Bahamas, Caribbean. Eastern Atlantic: Morocco, Senegal. Indo-West Pacific: East Coast of Africa (Natal to Mozambique). Red Sea, India, Thailand. Western Pacific: China, Taiwan, Australia, New Caledonia, French Polynesia. Eastern Pacific: Southern Baja California to Panama, Ecuador to northern Peru.


Can be found close inshore and well offshore to depth of about 80 m. This species favors coral reefs (continental and insular). It is a migrating species with some populations (off of Florida and China) moving poleward in the summer.


Fishes (big variety), sharks but strongly favors stingrays.


Average size between 400 cm and 500 cm, total maximum size about 610 cm.


Viviparous, with yolksac-placenta (gives birth to live young). Litter size between 12 and 40 pups. Size at birth between 50 cm and 70 cm. Gestation period at least 7 months. Males reach sexual maturity at 240 cm to 270 cm, female at 250 cm to 300 cm.

 Similar Species

Scalloped hammerhead and Smooth hammerhead but the Great hammerhead has a much higher first dorsal fin making mis-identification very unlikely.


Status in the IUCN Red List(1994):

Main criterion: > DD (Data Deficient)
Sub criterion:
Trend: Unknown

 Danger to Humans

Potentially dangerous.

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